Photo Credit: Image of Cacio e Pepe pasta courtesy of jokihaka via Shutterstock
Fettuccine Alfredo with Pecorino and Cracked Black Pepper
While we love the creaminess of fettuccine alfredo, the sheer amount of butter and and heavy cream in most recipes can leave you feeling like you never want to eat again. We decided to combine the smoothness of alfredo with the spiciness of cacio e pepe for a dish that is comforting without being a complete button burster. Note: We took a little advice from Kenji López-Alt of Serious Eats and cooked our pasta in a much smaller volume of water than we normally would. Don't change this, or your reserved pasta water won't have enough starch and your final dish will lack the creamy texture you love about alfredo.
- Kosher salt
- 16 ounces dried fettuccine pasta
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small garlic clove minced to a paste
- 1 ½ to 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 3 ounces finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese about 1 ½ cups
- 2 ounces finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese about ¾ cup
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley for garnish
- Bring 2 quarts of water* to a rolling boil in a large pot. Season with 2 tablespoons salt. Add the fettuccine and cook 2 minutes less than the package directions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, and drain the fettuccine.
- Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a dutch oven or other large, heavy-bottomed pot over low heat. Add the garlic and pepper and cook gently until fragrant but now burnt, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add 1 cup of the reserved pasta water to the butter mixture and increase heat to medium low. Allow the water to simmer for 2 minutes. Add in the heavy cream, cheeses, and drained pasta and stir while the sauce gets absorbed into the pasta, finishing the cooking process. Add more of the reserved pasta water if the sauce looks too thick.
- Serve immediately, garnishing with the minced parsley and additional salt, pepper, or Parmigiano Reggiano as desired.
*We took a little advice from Kenji López-Alt of Serious Eats and cooked our pasta in a much smaller volume of water than we normally would. Don't change this, or your reserved pasta water won't have enough starch and your final dish will lack the creamy texture you love about alfredo. Adapted from Kenji López-Alt