Cacio e Pepe
*Pro Tip: Place a Parmesan frico (aka: fancy ~cheese cracker~) at the bottom of each bowl.
*Frico can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container.
- 8 ounces uncooked bucatini or spaghetti
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for finishing
- 1 cup finely grated pecorino, divided
- 2 Parmesan Frico (recipe follows), for serving
- PARMESAN FRICO
- 1 1⁄3 cups freshly grated Parmesan
Adapted from buzzfeed.com
Heat a large salted stockpot until it boils. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. While the pasta cooks, melt the butter with 1 teaspoon pepper in a large sauté pan set over medium-low heat. Let the pepper infuse for 1 minute and then turn off the heat.
When the pasta is al dente, before draining, remove a 1⁄2 cup of pasta water and add to the butter. Simmer for 2 minutes over low heat.
Drain the pasta and add to the sauté pan, along with 3⁄4 cup pecorino. Toss the pasta in the sauce with tongs until the cheese has melted and created a creamy sauce that coats the pasta. If the sauce is still wet, continue to simmer until the water has reduced and clings to the pasta. Divide into bowls, and finish with the remaining pecorino and more freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Using 2⁄3 cup Parmesan, form a thick, even 6-inch circle of cheese on the parchment. Then bake for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cheese melts and is golden.
Carefully remove the parchment from the tray and flip over onto an inverted bowl. Peel off the parchment and gently press the Parmesan circle around the inverted bowl. Cool for 30 seconds and then remove. Repeat with the remaining cheese.