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Cacio e Pepe: three ingredients, a thousand secrets

  • Apr 10, 2021

Pasta, Pepper and Pecorino cheese, the three Ps of the Roman spirit.

This famous Roman recipe is made with only three ingredients, but there is more than meets the eye. You'll need a handful of secret tricks to achieve perfection. A successful 'cacio e pepe' is the result of years of experience from home cooks in the Eternal City. 

This is how our Cesarine describe one of the symbolic dishes of Rome, a precious recipe kept in family recipe books handed down through the generations. It's a dish that is all about balance, flavour and aromas that is perfect for all occasions, from Sunday lunch to a casual dinner with friends.

In the Roman kitchens of our Cesarine, everyone has their own secret to obtain a perfect cacio e pepe:

Cesarina Sveva, whose family has been in Rome for generations, has this advice for choosing the right Pecorino cheese: "I always use a less mature Pecorino cheese, preferably not aged for more than 24 months. It is best as it has a milder flavour that doesn't overpower the palate, and as it is less hard than a more seasoned Pecorino, it melts more easily, giving you a creamier sauce."

Cesarina Valeria
teaches us that for a cacio e pepe, worthy of the name, a fundamental step is to toast the pepper: "I prefer to use a peppercorn that I grind on the spot, that I toast in a dry non-stick pan. Then I add a little cooking water from the pasta, which releases the pepper's beautiful aroma."

Cesarino Alessandro
, on the other hand, is very careful about the choice of pasta to use: “I usually use bronze-drawn dry pasta such as spaghettone or tonnarello. Sometimes, however, I prefer fresh egg pasta such as tagliolini or spaghetti alla chitarra - strictly handmade. In this way, more starch is released into the cooking water and I am able to obtain an even creamier sauce."

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