Italian cuisine: Spaghetti Cacio and Pepper
- WTI Magazine #103 May 19, 2018
Spaghetti cacio and pepper (pecorino romano cheese and pepper), like carbonara and amatriciana, has now become one of the symbols of Italian cuisine. It is prepared using D.O.P (protected designation of origin) ingredients. Pecorino romano is called cacio to distinguish it from pecorino produced in other parts of Italy. Most pecorino is produced on the island of Sardinia, though its production is also allowed in Lazio and Sicily, as well as in the Tuscan provinces of Grosseto and Siena.
Pecorino is a family of hard Italian cheeses made from ewe's milk. The word derives from Italian word pecora meaning sheep. Cacio is one of more widely used, bold-flavored alternatives to Parmesan cheeses. Because of the hard texture and sharp and salty flavor, cacio is an excellent grating cheese over pasta dishes, breads and baking casseroles. However, the use of this cheese is limited because of its extreme saltiness. It is also rich in conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA. CLA is a polyunsaturated fatty acid that has been studied for its ability to prevent obesity. Full-fat cheese is fine, but you should buy a higher-quality cheese with superior flavor and just use smaller portions according to the Mamma Mia Diet!
Spaghetti cacio and pepper is a tribute to the traditional Roman peasant way of eating. It is a tasty, fast, inexpensive and easy recipe to prepare for a family meal. The secret, in addition to the chemical combination of cacio and creamy water from the pasta, it is the mixture of all flavors: full-pepper grains crushed at the moment and toasted to release its full flavor. The pasta is stirred into the sauce (“mantecata” in Italian) to absorb all of the cacio's taste. You should prepare this dish to enjoy right away, don't let it sit around or reheat it - this is an important tip!
SPAGHETTI CACIO E PEPE (SPAGHETTI CACIO AND PEPPER)
Total preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 12 minutes Serving:4
320 g (11.5 oz) spaghetti
3 teaspoons black peppercorns, roughly crushed
200 g (7 oz) pecorino romano (cacio), finely grated
1. In a large nonstick pan toast the pepper until fragrant. Set aside half of the pepper