“Cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper) is a classic dish from Rome and is one of our most popular dishes when it goes on the menu. Romans use pecorino but we prefer high-quality, aged parmesan because it gives the dish more depth of flavour. But if you want to keep it traditional, swap the cheese in the ingredients list below. ”
In a large saucepan, bring water up to the boil and season with salt to resemble mild sea water. Drop the pici in water and cook for 5–6 minutes. Meanwhile, add the butter, black pepper and a splash of pici water to a saucepan on a medium heat and then turn down to a low heat until they emulsify (melt into each other).
When the pici is cooked, remove it from the water and add to the saucepan with the butter and pepper. Keep the pasta water. Add the parmesan – but do not stir. Leave the parmesan to sit and melt from the residual heat of the pan – this prevents it from becoming chewy little cheesy balls. Once the parmesan has melted, stir the pici and sauce together to incorporate. Season with salt and serve immediately.