Spaghetti cacio e pepe could be said to be from Lazio, but it's most closely associated with Rome in particular, capital of both the region and, of course, the nation. Lazio sits more or less in the middle of Italy, a fertile, mostly flat land of plains and reclaimed marshland between the Appenines and the Tyrhennian coast. Cacio was, until fairly recently when it was overtaken by formaggio, the more popular word in southern Italy for cheese; here it's deployed in typically fast-and-furious Roman style as a sauce for pasta with nothing more than oil and a hefty helping of black pepper.
- 400 gm dried spaghetti
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp coarsely crushed black peppercorns
- 120 gm finely grated Pecorino Romano, plus extra to serve
- 1Cook spaghetti in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente (5-6 minutes), drain and reserve pasta water.
- 2Meanwhile, heat oil in a large deep-sided frying pan over medium heat, add peppercorns and stir until fragrant (30 seconds-1 minute). Add 150ml pasta water and bring to the simmer. Add pasta and cheese and toss until cheese melts and forms a smooth sauce (2-3 minutes). Add enough extra pasta water (about 80ml) to reach desired consistency. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper and serve hot with extra cheese.
This recipe is from the April 2012 issue of .