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cacio e pepe (pasta w blk pepper and romano cheese)


eugenep
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I used ATK recipe and saw it on the "Alex French Guy" youtube show. 

 

If aged cheese is melted, it will clump together. 

 

Cacio e pepe  - pasta with just percorino romano and black pepper - melts aged cheese with pasta water. 

 

The claim is that it wont' clump because the starch content of pasta water will act as a thickener (emulsifier) keeping the water and oil separate so no clumping. 

 

The trick is to use very little water to cook the starch heavy pasta so that the water is super starchy. 

 

I did just that under the ATK recipe and my cheese clumped once it was melted with hot pasta water. I grated the cheese too. 

 

For anyone having this problem, how did you resolve it? Or did you have this problem?

 

I'm thinking maybe modernism or industrialization etc. maybe changed our processed foods so pasta maybe has less starch now than in the past or our Percornio Romano changed and is now processed differently? 

 

I think this recipe might have worked in the past but maybe not in the present??? 

 

Oh. I used Parmigiano Reggiano and not the Pecornio. I don't believe this should make a difference as Pecornio has just a stronger animal aroma to brighten very simple ingredients. 

 

EDIT 

 

I tried NickRey's method (below) and IT WORKED!!!  

 

The clumping happens because I added water to the cheese following ATK recipe before it goes into the pasta. The water + cheese = clumping. 

 

So I toasted/bloomed the black pepper in a skillet and then put the pasta (al dente) on the skillet with pasta water on medium heat. 

 

I now add the shredded cheese in parts into the pasta in the skillet and stir. 

 

and - AMAZING - distribution of cheese with no clumping and video perfect cacio e pepe 

Edited by eugenep
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Also, in a restaurant situation, the water is reused for all the pasta all day long, so the water is MUCH more starchy than you could ever get at home, unless you want to save your pasta boiling water like a master stock, that's a real PITA.

 

Some people here have experimented in adding starch to the pasta water, but I don't remember where the thread was or who did it, or even the result... sorry.

 

Personally, I think there's a huge difference in flavor between pecorino romano and parmigiano reggiano - it's much sharper... I think doing this dish with parmigiano would be tasty, but it wouldn't be cacio e pepe.

 

Also note that some restaurants will add some butter or cream to help the cheese emulsify, and make the dish a little richer.

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19 minutes ago, KennethT said:

Personally, I think there's a huge difference in flavor between pecorino romano and parmigiano reggiano - it's much sharper... I think doing this dish with parmigiano would be tasty, but it wouldn't be cacio e pepe.

 

Absolutely; it's pasta with parmigiano and pepper. Pecorino, and the right pecorino for this dish, makes all the difference.

 

2088014629_cacioepepe_1.jpg.fd005ab39f6ebea63ae15de79d50c5b0.jpg

 

Here's how a Roman expert (from one of my favorite restaurants in Rome) makes the dish...

 

 

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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14 hours ago, Chris Hennes said:

 

yeah - that's the one. Kinda disappointed about that ATK recipe just because it's supposed to be tested so it should work. 

 

I don't think there is a relevant difference between Pecorino and Parmesano - unless the Pecorino has some kind of emulsifier in it that the Paresamno doesn't. But I'll try again with Pecorino. Maybe it'll come out different.

 

I think the best explanation might be that restaurants reuse the same pasta water thereby increasing the starch content wayyy more than the home kitchen cook. 

 

But it would be nice to hear from a kitchen cook that dealt with similar problems and how they got around it. 

 

happy halloween  

Edited by eugenep
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8 hours ago, eugenep said:

 

But it would be nice to hear from a kitchen cook that dealt with similar problems and how they got around it. 

 

I get around it by using the right cheese, of the right age.

 

I've always like Maureen Fant's recipe for this specific dish, and here she is on eG, writing about the differences between pecorino romano and parm.

 

 

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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Why emulsify the cheese before adding it to the pasta? The sauce is made in the pan with the pasta and pasta water and pepper and then adding the cheese sequentially and stirring all the time, not made before and then added. As for scrambled eggs or carbonara if it is cooked correctly it is creamy without any addition of cream.

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Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

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I have used the Tonnarelli CACIO E PEPE recipe from Marc Vetri's Rustic Italian Food successfully.  It is a technique-specific recipe. Out of respect for the copyright holder I will decline to state how it's made.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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On 10/30/2018 at 8:42 AM, weinoo said:

 

Absolutely; it's pasta with parmigiano and pepper. Pecorino, and the right pecorino for this dish, makes all the difference.

 

 

 

Here's how a Roman expert (from one of my favorite restaurants in Rome) makes the dish...

 

 

 

so that guy in the video says "it's some good ass carbonara"

 

I was under the impression that Carbonara was made with Guanciale, which is pork cheek...

is this some variant made with ass?

 

or was he self describing?

 

 

Edited by weedy (log)
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I made this tonight actually. Used Alton Brown’s recipe from his new Good Eats Reloaded show. No idea how true to form it was but it was great. 100 grams of pecorino to 50 grams of parmigiana. He makes a cheese paste in a bowl, then adds pasta water, then adds the pasta to it. No clumping or anything. 

 

https://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/alton-brown/cacio-e-pepe-5458695

Edited by Robenco15 (log)
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46 minutes ago, weedy said:

 

so that guy in the video says "its some good ass carbonara"

 

I was under the impression that Carbonara was made with Guanciale, which is pork cheek...

is this some variant made with ass?

 

or was he self describing?

 

 

 

I actually looked this up and, according to Professor Vere E. Boring, it looks ass was used before bacon owing to the high and delicious fat content. 

 

Modern groceries stores don't sell ass on the meat section because it's reserved for haute cuisine restaurants so cook books and shows aimed at the common woman/man uses bacon in Carbonara (and it gets passed down to the deprived home cook). 

 

But the guys in the video are pros' (haute cuisine) so they be tapping that good ass (for Carbonara).  

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7 hours ago, Robenco15 said:

I made this tonight actually. Used Alton Brown’s recipe from his new Good Eats Reloaded show. No idea how true to form it was but it was great. 100 grams of pecorino to 50 grams of parmigiana. He makes a cheese paste in a bowl, then adds pasta water, then adds the pasta to it. No clumping or anything. 

 

https://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/alton-brown/cacio-e-pepe-5458695

 

Not a bad technique, but I still question the use of olive oil when making cacio e pepe.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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On 11/1/2018 at 12:34 AM, weedy said:

 

so that guy in the video says "its some good ass carbonara"

 

I was under the impression that Carbonara was made with Guanciale, which is pork cheek...

is this some variant made with ass?

 

or was he self describing?

 

 

They were tasting three plates: one of cacio e pepe, one of carbonara, and one of tripe.

 

ETA: The penny just dropped. I thought that you'd thought the guy in the video had mistaken cacio e pepe for carbonara. Rather embarrassing for someone with my history of smartassery to overlook it in someone else. :P

("Sar-chasm: n, The gulf between the person making the joke and the one not getting it...")

Edited by chromedome (log)
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