Perfect in its minimalism, cacio e pepe, directly translated as cheese and pepper, is a real crowd-pleaser, great for a family meal or a dinner that doubles as lunch the next day. For that buttery taste with less fat, this version combines olive oil and butter in a 2:1 combo. A key to this dish is using freshly ground pepper, so get out your pepper mill and grind away.
- 6 ounce pasta like pappardelle, linguini, or spaghetti
- 3 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for the pasta
- Salt, to taste
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
- Bring a pot of water to boil, drizzle in some olive oil, and season with a palmful of salt. Cook until al dente, about 8 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil and butter on medium heat. Add the pepper (I usually just grind it in directly) and let cook for a few minutes on low heat.
- When the pasta is al dente, use a pasta ladle to transfer the pasta directly from the water to the sauté pan. Toss quickly with the olive oil, butter, and pepper over medium-low heat.
- Add in about a 1/4 cup of the pasta water, the cheese, and salt to taste, then keep tossing the pasta until the sauce thickens. Add more pasta water if too dry.
- Serve with extra cheese on top and grind on some more pepper if you want.