Cacio e pepe is a fantastic and flavorful dish made with bucatini pasta, black peppercorns, and Pecorino or Parmesan cheese. It’s pleasantly spicy, cheesy, and will only take about 20 minutes to prepare.
Use the box grater side that has rough holes protruding from the grater to gate the cheese into fine dust. (This fine grate on cheese will be the key for melting it into the smooth sauce.)
Add grated cheese into a bowl and set aside.
Preheat a dry cooking pan that you will use later to make this pasta dish over medium heat.
Add peppercorns and toast them for a few minutes until starts to smoke and give out pleasant aroma. Make sure to gently shake the pan as peppercorns cook so they mix and don't burn.
Transfer toasted peppercorns into a pepper grinder and grind them on a coarse setting. Set it aside.
Add pasta to salted boiling water and let it cook until al dente. (Depending on the pasta and the brand, it will take 6-8 minutes.)
About 2 minutes before pasta is ready, start preheating a dry cooking pan on medium heat.
Add crushed pepper to the pan and add about 1/2 a ladle of pasta cooking water from the pot. Gently shake the pan to mix.
Let the pepper gently simmer and when pasta is ready, use a pasta fork to spoon and transfer cooked pasta from the pot into the pan. Let most of the water drip off the pasta as you spoon it but not all of it.
Add about 1/2 ladle of pasta cooking water to the bowl with grated cheese and mix it with a fork until melted and smooth. (Add a little more pasta water if needed.)
Scrape cheese sauce into the pasta and toss pasta with pepper and cheese mixtures until completely coated and smooth.