Cacio e Pepe

Serves 2 to 4, depending on appetite

8 ounces dry, uncooked pasta

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup (56 grams) grated Pecorino Locatelli or Grana Padano cheese

Freshly cracked black pepper, about 1 teaspoon, but go with your comfort level

Sea salt, to taste

Few teaspoons of fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley, optional

Cook the pasta according to the package directions, making sure to reserve ¼ cup of the cooking water (see post for my method on cooking the pasta).

Drain the pasta, and add it back to the pot. Add the butter, and stir until it’s melted. Add the cheese and pepper. Stir until the pasta is well coated. Drizzle in the pasta water, stirring constantly, until a thick sauce forms (you may not need it all). Season with salt, if desired (remember the cheese, especially if using Pecorino, is salty, too).

Divide the pasta between deep serving bowls. Give a few twists of the peppermill over the top, if desired. The parsley is totally optional, and not at all traditional, but I like the herbaceous flavor it adds to the final dish.