Roma Sparita

When we were in Rome this summer, we traipsed around with a crumpled piece of paper bearing the recommendations of culinary warrior Anthony Bourdain. We were not led astray. Perhaps the most memorable of these food adventures was our trip to Trastevere’s Roma Sparita, where we became appropriately obsessed with the cacio e pepe (in a BOWL MADE OF CHEESE). When in Rome…for real, people, you’ve got to go to this place and try this dish.

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The inspiration. Sublime.

Had to deal with an emergency cacio e pepe craving yesterday and, fortunately, this recipe satisfied it. Man, that is a good freaking dish! I know many of the recipes on this site tend toward the long and complicated. This one is pretty quick and easy. I recommend watching the video, too.

If you want to compare cacio e pepes, I’ve also made the Barefoot Contessa version, Pasta with Pecorino and Pepper. A blind taste test might be in order. (Funny to look back and see my reference to Roma Sparita in that post. We sure are different people now that we’ve eaten the real thing.)

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The reality. Super tasty.

Cacio e Pepe (Bon Appétit)

Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • 6 oz. pasta (such as egg tagliolini, bucatini, or spaghetti)
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed, divided
  • 1 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Grana Padano or Parmesan
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino

Preparation

  • Video: Click here to watch Del Posto’s Mark Ladner make cacio e pepe

     

  • Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a 5-qt. pot. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 2 minutes before tender. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup pasta cooking water.
  • Meanwhile, melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add pepper and cook, swirling pan, until toasted, about 1 minute.
  • Add 1/2 cup reserved pasta water to skillet and bring to a simmer. Add pasta and remaining butter. Reduce heat to low and add Grana Padano, stirring and tossing with tongs until melted. Remove pan from heat; add Pecorino, stirring and tossing until cheese melts, sauce coats the pasta, and pasta is al dente. (Add more pasta water if sauce seems dry.) Transfer pasta to warm bowls and serve.
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