Cheese and Pepper Pasta Cacio e Pepe

Less is more in this elemental Roman pasta dish, which takes its spiciness from cracked black pepper toasted in oil.


    •  Kosher salt, to taste
    •  1 lb. pasta, preferably tonnarelli or spaghetti
    •  4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
    •  2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper, plus more to taste
    •  1 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano
    •  34 cup finely grated Cacio de Roma


  1. Bring a 6-qt. pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta; cook until al dente, 8–10 minutes; reserve 1 cup pasta water and drain pasta. Meanwhile, heat oil in a 12" skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add pepper; cook until fragrant, 1–2 minutes. Ladle 3⁄4 cup pasta water into skillet; bring to a boil. Using tongs, transfer pasta to skillet; spread it evenly. Sprinkle 3⁄4 cup each Pecorino Romano and Cacio de Roma over pasta; toss vigorously to combine until sauce is creamy and clings to the pasta without clumping, about 2 minutes, adding some pasta water if necessary. Transfer to 4 plates and sprinkle with remaining Pecorino and more pepper.

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