- Luca Amedeo Paiano
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HOW TO MAKE CACIO E PEPE
Cacio e pepe , together with the real Roman Carbonara, Gricia and Amatriciana, is one of the 4 sacred monsters of Italian and Roman culinary culture in particular. It is certainly the best known dish of Lazio cuisine.
I know what you are thinking: "cacio e pepe in a blog for lactose intolerant?". Yes, we are not kidding you, the famous Cacio e pepe can also be eaten and enjoyed by those who suffer from lactose intolerance : we explain why in this article very well.
Basically, we know that it may seem like a paradox but it is scientifically proven, not all cheeses contain lactose! Cheeses with a long maturation (30-40 months) naturally lose their dose of lactose.
In this way, cheeses such as Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano and Pecorino Romano (which are the most used in the preparation of the Cacio e pepe sauce), if properly seasoned, can be safely used and consumed by intolerant people.
How is it possible? Quite simply, the lactose present with aging is transformed into lactic acid and so the cheese can be eaten by most of the intolerant.
Clearly the level of sensitivity is subjective and we recommend trying small quantities of these cheeses before enjoying a whole Cacio e pepe.
To get around and feel more relaxed, you can always take a tablet of Lactosolution 15 minutes before eating your tasty meal.
Cacio e pepe, an apparently banal dish, however, hides some pitfalls that many are unknown to but thanks to some of our secrets and advice, which we will soon reveal, you will be able to make a great impression at the table with your friends and relatives .
Everyone is capable of making a Cacio e pepe; few, however, are able to make a truly amazing and creamy one using only cheese. We will teach you a few tricks if you keep reading.
As you may have learned, all you need is good aged pecorino and pepper in degrees that we are going to split.
Here you will find the list of ingredients to use, which are easy to find, but must be of the highest quality:
Ingredients for 4 people:
- SPAGHETTI (QUALITY) 400 gr
- PECORINO ROMANO SEASONED AT LEAST 30 MONTHS: 200 gr
- Alternatively, 100g of pecorino and 100g of aged Parmesan.
- Crushed BLACK PEPPER in grains - 2 tablespoons
- SALT to taste
We immediately reveal two secrets regarding pepper:
- absolutely do not use the already ground pepper powder! Buy the peppercorns and split them using a mortar or, if you don't have it, wrap the grains inside a sheet of home paper and break them using a hammer or a rolling pin.
- Pepper shouldn't just be put on pasta once cooked. The pepper must first be toasted in a pan to release all its flavors , then it must be dissolved in the cooking water so that the water itself takes on the aromas of the pepper.
CACIO AND PEPPER ORIGINAL RECIPE:
- First of all, to prepare a perfect cheese and pepper, you need to start by roasting the peppercorns . Collect the peppercorns in a mortar and crumble them with a pestle or alternatively, take a cutting board and mash them with a rolling pin or a meat grinder. The pepper will be ready when it is reduced to a coarse powder.
- Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil , add salt and dip the spaghetti in it.
- Once completed, pour half the pepper into a pan and turn the heat on to medium power. The pepper will be toasted when you smell the pepper coming out of the pan. This will take a couple of minutes.
- Once the pepper has been toasted, it is time to blend it . Take two large ladles of cooking water and add them to the pan containing the pepper. Do not worry if you see bubbles emerge, it is nothing more than the starch of the pasta. This way the pepper will begin to melt slightly. Keep the heat medium for this step.
- While the pasta is cooking and the pepper makes its own in the pan, we prepare the sauce, which can be made up of: 100% aged pecorino or, alternatively, 50% aged parmesan and 50% aged pecorino.
- Add the grated cheese in a bowl , add half the pepper you left aside and add very little cooking water at a time and mix vigorously with a teaspoon until you get a thick and consistent cheese paste. To be clear, you will get the right consistency when, if you overturn the container with the cream cheese inside, it does not come off but remains well thickened in the container.
- Two or three minutes before the end of cooking, drain the spaghetti and transfer them to the pan with the pepper and finish cooking the spaghetti by adding, if necessary, another ladle of boiling water.
- At this point , continue to move the spaghetti with kitchen tongs to make it breathe. This process will help in the formation of the cream.
- Monitor the humidity of the pasta in the pan continuously; if you see that it dries too much, add more cooking water (continuing to oxygenate the pasta from time to time with the tongs).
- Once the pasta is al dente, move the pan off the heat so that the temperature drops slightly . Too hot a pan temperature will cause the cheese mixture to tear.
- When it has cooled slightly, pour the pecorino (or parmesan) sauce directly on the pasta, together with a drop of cooking water.
- At this point , mix the mixture well with tongs and if you see that the dish is still too thick, continuously add cooking water until the desired creaminess is reached.
The mix of cooking water and pecorino sauce, thanks also to the oxygenation process carried out with the tongs, will make you magically obtain a super cream that will wrap your spaghetti.
Serve and enjoy them still hot.
Enjoy your meal!