Literally translating to Cheese and Pepper, this humble yet oh-so decadent pasta can be whipped up with just a handful of staple pantry ingredients. Serve it hot off the stove with a crack more of black pepper and a drizzle of truffle oil.
1 cup pecorino (or Parmigiano Reggiano / parmesan)
truffle oil (optional, for drizzling on top)
Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling salted water. Reserve ¾ cup of the cooking water when draining the pasta.
Melt 1 tbsp butter and oil in a large skillet. Pile on the black pepper and cook until toasted.
Add ½ cup of reserved pasta water to the skillet and bring to a simmer. Make sure the water is boiling when you pour it in; if it cools before melting the cheese (see the step below), your sauce will be undesirably clumpy.
Whisk in the remaining butter. Add the pasta and cheese, continuously tossing with tongs until the cheese has melted. You want a creamy sauce (craveably-cheesy and buttery), which coats the pasta consistently. Remember that you can always add more pasta water if the sauce seems too thick or too dry!
Serve your Cacio e Pepe hot off the skillet, with a dash more of black pepper on top and a good drizzle of truffle oil if you want to dial up the decadence even more!