One of the most basic, simplest pasta dishes around, cacio e pepe literally means "cheese and pepper." It's minimalist cooking at its best and requires just a few ingredients, all of which you likely already have at home. This recipe is my favorite to make on weeknights when I'm cooking just for one and want something light and fast to make. When done right, cacio e pepe is as every bit as comforting as a bowl of mac and cheese but with a lot less guilt!
1 pound linguine or spaghetti
Pecorino Romano, grated
Freshly ground black pepper
Good olive oil
1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add linguine and cook until al dente.
2. Drizzle olive oil into the bottom of two shallow serving bowls.
3. Scoop pasta directly from the pot of water into a large bowl. Spoon some of the pasta water it, then grate a generous amount of Pecorino Romano on top. Follow with a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. Stir, folding cheese and pepper into the warm pasta so it melts and creates a creamy sauce.
4. Transfer pasta to serving bowls, then repeat with extra cheese and pepper. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil on top.