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Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe

Executive Chef Evan Funke of "Felix" restaurant is making an Italian favorite.
Ingredients
  • 250g Spaghetti, Bucatini, or Rigatoni, fresh or dried
  • 1T unsated butter
  • Black pepper
  • Pecorino Romano
  • Salt
Equipment
  • Heavy bottom pot
  • 10-inch saute pan
  • 6 ounce ladle
  • Black pepper mill
  • Strainer or spider
  • Tongs
  • Spoon

Directions

1) In a heavy bottom pot, bring an abundant amount of water to a rolling boil.
Salt the water as if it was an aggressively seasoned soup, NOT like the ocean.
Drop your preferred pasta into the water, allow it to relax and give it a stir to avoid sticking.
Throughout the cooking process, test the doneness of the pasta, once you have reached a crunchy al dente, start your sauce.

2) In a 10-inch sauté pan on low heat, crack the black pepper, 50 turns of the mill. I prefer a mix of finely ground and coarsely ground black pepper.
Toast the pepper until its aromatic. Be careful not to burn the pepper, if it smokes, your pan is too hot.

3) Increase the flame to medium and add the butter to the toasted pepper.
Fry the pepper in the frothy butter, approx. 30 seconds being careful not to brown the butter as it will alter the taste of the finished sauce.

4) Add a six-ounce ladle of the seasoned pasta water to the pan and emulsify.

5) Bring the sauce to a boil.

6) Lower the heat.

7) With a strainer remove the pasta from the pot and add it to the sauce.

8) Toss vigorously until the pasta is coated generously with the sauce. If the pasta looks dry add another half ladle of the pasta water to the pan to moisten and continue to agitate.

9) Taste the final sauce and adjust the seasoning if needed. Bear in mind that the Pecorino Romano is highly seasoned and will increase that saltiness of the final dish. With tongs or a spoon, depending on your pasta shape, remove the pasta from the pan and arrange the pasta onto warmed plates. Spoon any excess sauce over the top. Generously grate Pecorino Romano over the top of the pasta.

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