Few ingredients go into the humble cacio e pepe, which is elevated by the addition of our truffle parmesan. Use fresh pasta for a better sauce in the end, but packaged dry pasta works too. Add grilled chicken or salmon for an easy weeknight meal.
Use a large wide skillet to cook the pasta. This will require less water and also concentrate the starches through evaporation as the pasta cooks.
If your cheese tends to clump rather than melt, or even as just a security measure, use the 1/2 tsp of flour to ensure your sauce comes out silky smooth.
This recipe serves 2.
200g/7oz dry pasta OR 350g/12oz fresh pasta, such as spaghetti, bucatini, or fettuccine
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp all-purpose flour (optional)
1/2 cup grated pecorino romano
1 tsp truffle parmesan
1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
Using a large wide skillet, fill half full with water and add a pinch of salt. The water should taste slightly salty, but not overwhelmingly so. Bring the water to a rapid boil.
Add the pasta and adjust the water level if necessary: the water should just cover the pasta so that the starches can concentrate in the water. Cook for 1 minute less than instructions, or until just before al dente. Dry pasta will have a toothsome dry center when bitten, while fresh pasta will be very chewy. The pasta will finish cooking in the sauce.
Drain the pasta in a colander, reserving 1 cup of liquid.
To the empty pot with the heat off, add the butter and melt. If using flour to prevent the cheese from clumping, turn the heat on low and cook the flour in the butter for 2 minutes, then turn off
Stream in 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquid, stirring rapidly to emulsify the sauce.
Add the grated pecorino to the sauce and stir until melted, then turn the heat on low and continue stirring until it comes together into a smooth sauce. If the cheese clumps, add more pasta water and keep stirring until it becomes creamy. The sauce should be somewhat runny as the pasta will absorb much of the moisture and it will thicken as it cools and the starches set up.
Return the pasta to the pot and toss until the sauce thickens and coats the noodles. Add the truffle parmesan and several cracks of black pepper, at least 1/2 tsp, or to your liking, and toss to fully combine.
Serve with additional pecorino, truffle parmesan, and/or black pepper on top.