Voatsiperifery Pepper Cacio e Pepe

Voatsiperifery might not be the first pepper you think of when it comes to the Roman pasta dish, cacio e pepe, but the aromatic, citrus and fresh, herbal notes add lift and light to the dish. Cacio e pepe looks deceptively simple, with its use of only three ingredients, but it can be frustratingly easy to get wrong. There is a fine line between creamy, peppery richness and a bowl of soggy spaghetti knotted with black pepper and clumps of cheese. After taking some lessons from a bona fide Roman cook, we’re confident this recipe cracks it. As long as you use high quality Pecorino Romano, the rest is simply a matter of technique; just keep the pasta moving and don’t be scared about slopping in that starchy pasta water.

Ingredients for voatsiperifery pepper cacio e pepe Serves: 2

Method for voatsiperifery pepper cacio e pepe

  1. Finely grate the Pecorino Romano and set aside at room temperature in a bowl while you prepare everything else.
  2. Roughly crush the voatsiperifery peppercorns in a pestle and mortar, or blitz, briefly, to a craggy rubble in a spice grinder.
  3. Bring a pan of generously salted water to the boil, then add the spaghetti/linguine/pici; use the smallest saucepan possible to ensure there will be a good concentration of starch in the cooking water.
  4. When the pasta is halfway through its cooking time, toast the pepper in a dry pan, until fragrant, then turn the heat down low and add a ladle of pasta water to the frying pan. Allow the pepper to infuse into the water.
  5. When the pasta is almost al dente, scoop it into the peppery frying pan, using a spaghetti server or tongs - the splashes of excess cooking water will help create the sauce.
  6. Next, vigorously beat another ladle of pasta water into the bowl of grated pecorino until it has melted and formed a paste. Add the paste to the pasta and toss everything together while shaking the pan – you need to keep everything moving to avoid the cheese clumping.
  7. Keep tossing until the sauce is creamy and glossy and the pasta is al dente.
  8. Divide between two bowls and serve immediately, with even more grated Pecorino on top, if you wish.
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Shop all Italian ingredients, and read our guide to making pasta at home.


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