Cheese and pepper: Roman original recipe

Cheese and pepper: Roman original recipe

Cheese and pepper: Today I leave you with the original Roman recipe of one of the first courses of the most beloved Capital, best known and most insidious. Because the pasta with cheese and pepper is a seemingly simple pasta, but in reality very, very technical to perform. The canons are only 3 ingredients: pasta, PDO Pecorino romano and black pepper. But behind these three ingredients are complex to be addressed and rocks, to get the perfect cheese and pepper, you have to know some little secrets.

What I will reveal today, also in VIDEO RECIPE STEP BY STEP the cheese and pepper on YouTube, on the occasion of the first day of Cheese and Pepper Festival, a Eataly Roma. With this recipe complete the triptych of the great first Roman dishes: the PASTA CARBONARA And the Pasta Amatriciana. You can find the VIDEO RECIPE CARBONARA And the VIDEO RECIPE amatriciana  on my YouTube channel.

My secrets for a perfect cheese and pepper

First let's talk about PECORINO: It must be a Dop pecorino romano, what a black skin. Unfortunately, Style need not be shown in the seasoning, which is, however, an important factor for the cheese and pepper. The Romans say that the pecorino must "make the drop", meaning they must exude, It is covered with a thin coat of grease, synonymous with a fairly young sheep that turns into cream when heated.

The heat, or rather the TEMPERATURE of the cooking water of the pasta, It is one of the hidden ingredients of the recipe for pasta with cheese and pepper. If the temperature is too low pecorino form lumps. If the temperature is too high it becomes stringy. The right half is a temperature around 55 degrees. The biggest mistake is to put the cheese in the dough with the fire lit or use a pan too hot. The result would be a paste immersed in a liquid and coagulated cheese pieces or, even, racy. I suggest not to use already grated cheese but scratch it on time, because the cheese already grated into contact with the air dries quickly and will make life harder.

We come to the PASTA. We have several possibilities that the original recipe require and tolerate: first of all the format called "tonnarelli", a typical egg pasta in Rome, thick and full-bodied, which is wonderfully combined with the cream. The gnocchi, who need a little’ expertise and attention, because they create a lot of starch. A positive, because it helps the formation of cream, gnocchi but also tend to break and to flake, if you are not good at sauté in a pan.

The short sleeves (strictly ruled) I am my choice. They have a cooking time that allows you to get organized in the kitchen quietly and remain al dente. If they are of excellent quality, release a considerable amount of starch and well amalgamate the cream cheese and pepper. Other formats tolerated remember, there are the rigatoni and spaghetti.

I recommend you cook the pasta in a little water, about half than it used habitually. For example: half a liter of water per one hundred grams of pasta. This will ensure that the concentration of cooking starch in water is greater and it will be easier to obtain the cream cheese.

Attention to the pasta in the water SALT: but put it in very small quantities, because the PDO Pecorino Romano is very tasty. I suggest to sample in advance you buy the cheese to make this recipe.

The PEPPER must be of high quality. You have to toast the pepper and then 'shadow them’ with the cooking water to extract all the aromas. You choose the type, I like proper mixing of 3-4 different types, to obtain a pasta with cheese and pepper more aromatic. I use a mixture of Sichuan pepper, black pepper from Madagascar, a pinch of white pepper in Vietnam, Black Pepper India.

Variations of the cheese and pepper

At the pasta with cheese and pepper, I always like to add a pinch of grated lemon zest, because it gives freshness and a nice citrus scent. You can, though, also create dishes from cheese and pepper only take inspiration, as the RISOTTO WITH CHEESE AND PEPPER AND SHRIMPS NUT, the DUMPLINGS CHEESE AND PEPPER WITH BEANS, the BUCATINI CHEESE AND PEPPER WITH HAM AND ASPARAGUS or the BUCATINI CHEESE AND PEPPER WITH MUSSELS. In short, enjoy yourselves.

If you chemistry fans, I suggest you read the article Dario Bressanini the cheese and pepper: so you'll understand what happens during the steps of this seemingly simple recipe.


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  • 320 grams of pasta (TAM, Spaghetti, mezzemaniche scored or rigatoni)
  • 280 grams of PDO Pecorino Romano
  • black pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste (but less than usual)


Cheese and pepper: Roman original recipe

Cheese and pepper: Roman original recipe

First of all, I invite you to watch VIDEO RECIPE on my YouTube channel, for seeing the process step by step.

Grate the cheese, put in a bowl 220 grams and 60 grams in another bowl.

Grind pepper with a meat mallet coarsely. Toast the pepper in a skillet on low heat.

Boil water for pasta. Add salt slightly because the cheese is very tasty. Add a ladle of water a roasted pepper, as you see in VIDEO RECIPE STEP BY STEP. Let cook on a low heat for a few seconds. Turn off the heat.

Halfway through the cooking time of pasta, withdraw with a ladle 200 milliliters of water. Wait for 1 minute to lose some’ heat. In theory, you should use a thermometer to check that the water temperature reaches 55 degrees before adding it to pecorino. By the time the thermometer you no longer need and enough experience. Add water to 220 grams of cheese in bowl. Stir with a whisk, with a spoon or a spatula until obtaining a cream. If lumps are formed, add a few drops of hot water.

Drain the pasta al dente. Keep the cooking water. Put the dough into the pan where there is the black pepper. Continue cooking the pasta in the pan. Add a little’ cooking water. Cook pasta in a little water facilitates the escape of starch.

Once the pasta is cooked, remove pan from heat. Add the cream cheese. Stir the paste with two tablespoons or skip the pasta in the pan if you are experienced chefs. Stir quickly until it has formed a thick cream and smooth. If the cream is too thick, add a little cooking water. If the cream is too runny add a little’ grated pecorino. You have to get the density you see in the picture and VIDEO RECIPE STEP BY STEP.

Serve immediately pasta with cheese and pepper. Complete the dish with 60 grams of grated cheese and other freshly ground black pepper. I also add a little’ lemon peel. Bon appétit!

Cheese and pepper: Roman original recipe
Cheese and pepper: Roman original recipe

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Spike 17 January 2020 at 14:05

I made your version of this with mussels two nights ago. It was terrific. This looks great, but here in Portugal we don’t have much choice on pecorino, so it is probably better with mussels as the cheese isn’t as dominant in that recipe. Can you recommend somewhere to try this on a trip to Sicily?

Ada Parisi 18 January 2020 at 15:05

Sure, I can recommend you a cheese factory to visit in Sicily, can you be more specific about where in Sicily? It’s quite big! Cheers, ADA


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