"My dear friend Mauro Vincenti was a larger-than-life character," writes Jonathan Waxman in Italian, My Way. One day, Mr. Vincenti asked Mr. Waxman to try this dish. "What is that? I asked. Cacio e pepe, slang for pecorino cheese and black pepper. That's it? I thought. And Mauro, seeing my bewilderment jumped and said that's it — black pepper, pecorino cheese and al dente pasta. So here you go."
Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe
From Jonathan Waxman's Italian, My Way: More than 150 Simple and Inspired Recipes That Breathe New Life into Italian Classics, published by Simon and Schuster.
1 pound spaghetti
1/4 cup freshly grated aged pecorino
1/4 cup freshly ground black pepper
sea salt (optional)
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta for 8 minutes, or until al dente, then drain.
Combine the pecorino and black pepper in a large bowl, then add the pasta and toss together. Add sea salt if necessary (it won't be - the pecorino is salty). Serve hot.