Cacio e Pepe is one of the most iconic pasta dish of all Italian cuisine. Touching it is considered a sacrilege… Oops. In my defence, I really tried to improved that dish. If you missed the traditional method :
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This video is brought to you by my supporters on Patreon. Hey guys salut, it's Alex. Welcome back to the 'Cacio E Pepe' miniseries thingy. Today as promised I'm going to try to improve the original 'Cacio E Pepe' recipe. In fact, if you're looking for the classic, original, geniune 'Cacio E Pepe' recipe then watch the previous episode. This is not for this, okay? This episode is meant to be more adventurous. It's meant to be more playful, if you wish. With the rules of that dish, 'cause you see hold on a second, because I need some props for the next scene. These rules are no different than the rules of a computer system. Some of them can be bent, others can be broken Now, I know I said I was going to improve that dish, and I stand by this statement. Of course But, you know, improving a recipe can be a bit misleading, so Lets just have a seat and try to think about that very concept A better recipe can basically be more efficient for example. Like faster, easier, more economical. It could also mean more reliable, a more dependable recipe. Something that wouldn't be that easy to screw up. And finally, a better recipe could mean a more flavorful recipe. I know this is very subjective of course. But this is my video. So the whole video is very subjective. The fun part is that I want to do all those improvements while maintaining the integrity of the dish. Otherwise it's not fun, it's not fun. That being said, I will guide you through my brand-new, updated process, my Cacio E Pepe process and I'll make sure to sprinkle a few tips and tricks along the way. That's how I sprinkle tips and tricks. Da da da dong. Right, lets go. The next move, probably as the greatest impact on flavor. I've seen countless recipes online mentioning that you should be using premium Pecorino cheese. But very few- zero, to be honest- talk about the pepper, the black pepper. Hmmmm… What about the flavours? What about the specifics? Like, is it in pace with the recipe? The place we're going to is called Le Comptoir des Poivres And they basically don't have one premium black pepper. They have dozens. [Piano Music] [Piano Music]
[Scanner beeps] [Piano Music] I got two in the end. Colombian Putomayo black pepper. And this one: Indian Kerala black pepper. So I'm going to perform a little taste-test, just to see which one goes better with the Pecorino cheese. Smells incredible…so much more than just pepper. First off, I'm gonna have a piece of cheese. And then, one peppercorn. The Indian one. [Crunching] Wow. Wow.
Pungent, like eating something else other than black pepper, to be honest. Whaaa. Whaaa.
A hint of smokiness Next one: [Gargling] mmm…Ahhh…. There is a bit of sweetness. Wow. Wow. This one's quite hot, but I like it very much. And also there is this tangy, slightly citrus-y flavour at the back of the tongue. It's standing so far away from the bland, supermarket staple food. Okay, my mind is set. I'm going for the Colombian Putomayo black pepper. So in terms of tools, I'm going to be as frugal as the recipe itself. I'm going to use only one frying pan- a big one, wide and shallow. In order to toss those pastas around. If you were to use, like a crêpe pan for example… …not sure a crêpe pan is super common outside of France… …that would be the worst, I'm just saying. Not that many people are familiar with the concept of dry-roasting spices before using them. In fact, looking at Cacio E Pepe recipes online, very few were roasting the spices. And the ones that were, were just crushing black pepper first, which I think is wrong. I said it. I think it's wrong. That's what you're doing, you're basically wasting the flavour The very subtle and ephemerals… ephemeroos? ephemerals flavors in the wind That's not something I'm gonna do. I'm gonna roast the whole peppercorn, and I'm gonna wait until the very end to bash them. There is a toasted, slightly caramelised flavour to them. Woah, and the crunch is just so much more enjoyable. Okay, so these are the pasta I used in the first episode. They are called Pici. You can also use Tonnarelli, but I'm not sure I'm really helping, cause- Those are not widely available pasta So, I wanna come up with an alternative for you. So here I've got two types of spaghetti: This is the deep yellow, super smooth basic commercial version. There is nothing wrong to them, but this is just a tad better. Just a bit more natural. They are also made with organic wheat, which is always better. The texture is a bit more rough. It's not as rough as the Pici, but still- rougher texture means greater surface, and that also means more exchanges of starch between the pasta and the pasta water. Which is exactly what we need to make that sauce thick, and syrupy, and silky at the end. Okay let's cook them, and for this I'm going to use a different technique than in previous videos. It's gonna be a two-batch process. Uhhhh… It's not gonna make it very efficient… It's not failing… It is failing. [Sighs] [Lightbulb FX]
I just had an idea, I'm not sure if it's a good idea. Honestly, if you're hesitating between good and– Now Italian people, I want you to look away, okay? Cause it might just be a bit painful. 3…2…1… [Snipping and bouncing] Batch number one, you need to fully cook those pasta, about 100 gram of pasta, for 12 minutes. That's exactly what's mentioned on the package At the end of the process, you get fully cooked pasta. There's nothing wrong with them, it's just perfect leftovers for a weeknight. But you also get, and that's the whole purpose of this operation: starchy water. Quite concentrated, since we use such little amount of water, and yet- -reduce it by half, and get that Super Starchy Water. Super Starchy Water. And that is going to help us so much at achieving the emulsion… The emulsion? Episode one? Did you– …in an easier way at the end. Well since I'm using the initial ingredients from the traditional recipe… I don't think that is cheating. But I might be wrong. What do you think? Is that just thinking? Let me know in the comments. Batch number two, the only difference now is now I'm gonna cook them for 10 minutes. Because I want to slightly undercook them. [Bubbling and sizzling as water is poured over] [Scraping from chopsticks] Of course I'm using chopsticks. I'm seen many great Italian chefs using long metal cooking forks, But I think these are superior, at least in two ways. First they don't scratch the pan. Plus, you can pinch. Right, since we got a bit of time, I suggest we chat a bit about cheese. I'm gonna use fresh Picorino cheese, Just because of the water content, and so the melting abilities are greater with fresher cheese than drier cheese, Like for example some already grated Picarino cheese. But, I've got something to say about Picorino cheese. Warning, Italians. Let's just say that you live in a place where this is not super available, Or where this is a bit too pricey, Then, without a hint of shame, please go for any local but fresh sheep's milk cheese. This is Ossau Iraty, coming from France. I'm still gonna use Picorino for the trick, but if I were at my place, I would probably just use this one. You know everything about me. You see how starchy the water is? It's insane. As much as possible, you don't want to add any more water to the pasta. In fact you want to cook them a bit like Risotto, if that makes sense. Ouais, ouais, ouais , since that starch is so important to get the dish creamy, let's talk a bit more about concentration with you. I've been seeing on and on in Italian cookbooks that you need one litre of water to cook 100 grams of pasta. That's a lot of water. Since I'm just barely covering my pasta with 400 mL of water, I am already at 2.5 times the starch content of the traditional one. And I'm afraid there is more. Since I'm re-using pasta water from a previous batch, I'm also doubling that concentration, Bringing it to an outrageous 5 times more starch. Okay, we're almost there. Let's take care of the black pepper. [Stamping and crushing] Waaaaahhhh… The smell is absolutely phenomenal. It smells like breakfast at my place. Like bread and butter and…apricot jam. Oh, it smells so good. [Piano music] [Piano music]
That's beatiful. [Piano music] [In French]
Oh my fucking- it's good I'd love a nap at the moment It's not only like a light coating anymore, it's actually like a cream. Yeah I know, it looks like I'm eating ramen just cause I'm using chopsticks. But don't worry, it's Cacio E Pepe. And it's good Cacio E Pepe. So good. It's so good. That concludes our tasting session. I think this is a better recipe than the traditional one, just because, it's less easy to screw up, The process is more effective, And the use of black pepper simply is better within this recipe. That's what I think, I'd love to hear what you think. I really hope you enjoy this twist on Cacio E Pepe, I really hope you enjoyed those two episodes in fact. If the first episode was about educating everybody about that dish I love so much, This one is about making it accessible, making it doable for normal people. That's what I've been trying to achieve. Like, subscribe if you enjoy the channel Of course, if you're an extreme traditionalist, then please go. I mean, you can b!tch about this in the comments, that will always make me smile. As always if you were to replicate that dish, please tag me in your lovely creation, so I can see and like them. Take care, bye bye! Salut!