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Best Cacio e pepe with blender and sous vide?


torolover
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Yes I understand that Cacio e pepe should be only made with  black pepper, Pecorino Romano cheese,  pasta, and pasta water.  When I make it sometimes the cheese get clumpy or oily.  

 

Yes I do the whole flipping the pasta with cheese and pasta water in the pan, and sometimes I even add a little butter and olive oil to help emulsify it, but I'm still not satisfied with the results.

 

Anyone think about putting the hot pasta water, the Pecorino/Parmesan Cheese, into a blender to emulsify it?  Or better yet adding a little butter too.

 

What temperature does cheese "break" and get oily?  Is it like Beurre Blanc, where it can't be too hot and too cold?

 

If I know the temperature, I can keep the sauce in my sous vide so it won't break while I boil the pasta.

 

Any thoughts about this?

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Yes, I turn off the heat when I add the freshly grated pecorino.  Yes I use lots of cheese,  about 1 ounce of cheese for every 3 ounce of pasta.  Yes, if my sauce looks too thin, I add a little more pasta water.  Yes I use the best quality aged cheese.  Yes I cook about 4 ounces of pasta for 2 quarts of salted water.

 

Shalmanese, Cooks illustrated idea of whisking cheese into a separate bowl of pasta water is similar to my idea of putting the sauce into a blender.  I'm not crazy about the cream idea because I think cream may dull the flavor a little bit.  Italians would say it's sacrilegious to add cream.

 

Anyone know the temperature when cheese "breaks" and turns oily?  

 

I'm curious what temperature I should keep the sauce on a low burner, or perhaps even in my sous vide, to keep it from breaking.

Edited by torolover (log)
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I haven't tried this, but I wonder if you could make a modernist processed cheese using your aged pecorino, some pasta water, and sodium citrate (and carrageenan if needed)? You could make a big batch of cheese in advance, then chill it down to solidify. Grate out however much you'd want when you're making the dish and treat like normal. Theoretically, it should (re)melt much smoother, stay emulsified, and basically be bullet-proof.

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Actually, if torolover is wiling to go the sodium citrate route, it's much easier than that.  Simply dissolve a little in the pasta water used for the sauce, then proceed as usual.  The sodium citrate will emulsify the parmesan as it melts.  Not just theorizing.  I've been doing this with most cheese sauces for a few years now.

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most of the Roman restaurants add BUTTER, just before the cheese, as well

 

Adding butter and/or olive oil is very typical of the dish.  That's how I was taught to make it, although there are many variations of the dish.  Probably the same idea as CI's suggestion to add cream.

 

And here's an excerpt from an article on the subject:

 

[...] he showed up bearing his own spaghetti, a super-long type from Naples. He set a big pot of

water to boil, threw in some sea salt and got to work finely grating a tall pile of pecorino on a

hand grater. He tried out the pepper grinder to make sure it gave the proper coarse grind. It

should resemble peppercorns crushed in a mortar and pestle. When the pasta was cooked al dente,

he drained it (no rinsing!), shaking the colander vigorously.

 

Now, he told me, the secret is to wait about one minute. If you add the cheese when the pasta is too hot,

it will melt, and that’s not what you want. After one minute, he frantically ground lots of black pepper over

the pasta, added the cheese and tossed with a three-pronged pasta fork until everything was mixed. The

cheese and pepper should attach to and dot each strand of spaghetti to give a tweedy effect. Don’t add

olive oil, or pasta water, and above all, no butter! "

Edited by Shel_B (log)

 ... Shel


 

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I'm not crazy about the cream idea because I think cream may dull the flavor a little bit.  Italians would say it's sacrilegious to add cream.

I can't imagine 2 tbsp of cream would be enough to alter the flavor. I suspect the cream is mainly there to add lecithin and seeding points for the emulsion. Adding Sodium Citrate or Lecithin as a sub for cream would probably work equally as well.

PS: I am a guy.

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Adding butter and/or olive oil is very typical of the dish.  That's how I was taught to make it, although there are many variations of the dish.  Probably the same idea as CI's suggestion to add cream.

 

And here's an excerpt from an article on the subject:

 

[...] he showed up bearing his own spaghetti, a super-long type from Naples. He set a big pot of

water to boil, threw in some sea salt and got to work finely grating a tall pile of pecorino on a

hand grater. He tried out the pepper grinder to make sure it gave the proper coarse grind. It

should resemble peppercorns crushed in a mortar and pestle. When the pasta was cooked al dente,

he drained it (no rinsing!), shaking the colander vigorously.

 

Now, he told me, the secret is to wait about one minute. If you add the cheese when the pasta is too hot,

it will melt, and that’s not what you want. After one minute, he frantically ground lots of black pepper over

the pasta, added the cheese and tossed with a three-pronged pasta fork until everything was mixed. The

cheese and pepper should attach to and dot each strand of spaghetti to give a tweedy effect. Don’t add

olive oil, or pasta water, and above all, no butter! "

 

I don't know who that 'purist' is, but as I said, I suspect just about every restaurant in Rome makes it with butter.

 

 

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I don't know who that 'purist' is, but as I said, I suspect just about every restaurant in Rome makes it with butter.

 

 

 

 

There's more than one way to make the dish ... how do you know (actually, you don't since you said "suspect") that "just about every restaurant in Rome makes it with butter."  And, "just about every restaurant" means not all restaurants, so some may very well be making it without butter or oil.

 

I have a collection of about 15 Cacio e Pepe recipes at home, and some ask for butter/olive oil and some don't.  The recipes are, of course, from many sources, including Italy, and of the Italian recipes (by Italian I mean recipes from Italy and Italian cookbooks), some include butter and some don't.

 

In the FWIW department, Batali's recipe includes butter and olive oil, Bastianich's recipe doesn't.

Edited by Shel_B (log)

 ... Shel


 

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Sure.

Every recipe has variations, no matter what the culture.

 

SOMEONE's grandmother hated butter (I know mine did!) and so left it out, and so it's passed down that way.

 

But I have talked with quite a few Italian (meaning in Italy) chefs about that dish (I was a little obsessed with it for a bit) and butter was a constant.

 

I said "suspect" because, sure, nothing is universal.

 

Batali, I will also say, tends to be more strict and researched in this sort of thing than Lidia, who I suspect (that word again!) just 'cooks the way I cook'

 

I'm going to say, with no 'suspicion' though that all of the best C&P I've had in Rome was made with butter.

 

 

but there is also this, from the original post:

"Yes I understand that Cacio e pepe should be only made with  black pepper, Pecorino Romano cheese,  pasta, and pasta water.  

When I make it sometimes the cheese get clumpy or oily.  "

 

now,

1) that first sentence is just WRONG.

CAN be made that way, maybe.

USUALLY made that way, definitely no.

SHOULD OR MUST be made that way? absolutely wrong.

 

2) a good answer to the problem in the second sentence is: try adding butter. 

 

such was really my point.

Edited by weedy (log)
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Wow thanks for all the great tips guys!  This is why I LOVE EGULLET!

 

I did translate the Italian blog from Franci with Google Translate and the blog has some great tips!

 

By the way if you read my second paragraph in my original post I did use a little butter and olive oil

 

"Yes I do the whole flipping the pasta with cheese and pasta water in the pan, and sometimes I even add a little butter and olive oil to help emulsify it, but I'm still not satisfied with the results"

 

I've been experimenting with emulsifying the cheese and pasta water with a blender and will let you know my results soon!

Edited by torolover (log)
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I make a big mound of grated Pecorino and ground pepper in a work bowl.

 

I put a little pasta water and a good amount of butter in a warm pan.

 

Toss the pasta in the butter. Then add the cheese and pepper and mix

 

serve

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