Good cooking becomes great cooking when a chef can take incredibly simple ingredients and turn them into something stellar. This Cacio e Pepe from Lupa Osteria Romana is the definition of Italian soul food, and uses only a few ingredients.
1 pound bavette or linguini
2 tablespoons salt, for pasta water
¼ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons butter
1½ cups grated pecorino romano
1½ cups grated parmigiano reggiano
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt. Cook the pasta in the boiling water one minute shy of the package directions, until al dente.
Meanwhile, add the freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of salt to a large sauté pan set over medium heat. Toast the pepper until fragrant, 45 seconds to 1 minute. Add one cup of pasta water to the pan, then add the cold butter and olive oil and bring to a simmer. Swirl the sauce regularly so that the olive oil and butter combine.
When the pasta is cooked, drain, reserving a little bit of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the pan and toss to combine with the sauce. Remove the pan from the heat, then add the cheese in a steady stream while constantly tossing or vigorously stirring so that the cheese melts evenly into the sauce. Add reserved pasta water if needed to adjust the sauce to the right consistency.
Recipe courtesy of Lupa Osteria Romana.