Gianluca’s Pasta cacio e pepe – Pasta with Cheese & Pepper
Time to move on to Gianluca. He was a problem for me. The only thing I’m sure of is that he likes bananas and I think he has a sweet tooth. So where do I go from there?
I was listening to him speak with some friends on Instagram one day and one of them mentioned Verrigni. Gianluca lives in Roseto degli Abruzzi this is where the company Verrigni is located. Verrigni is a company that makes pasta.
Let me say Abruzzo is known for its pasta. Why?
The pasta is made with the finest semolina and the water is from the Apennine Mountains. The water that flows down from the mountains is the best in all of Italy. Gianluca has talked about the Gran Sasso even in some of the concerts.
Gran Sasso contains the Corno Grande, the highest peak of the Apennines. So, the idea came to me to make pasta from the region and make a pasta which I’m sure Gianluca has had at some time in his life.
So, I went on Verrigni’s website and I saw a pasta that my mother used to make and so it is the one I chose. My mother’s family is from Abruzzo. They are from Introdacqua (Introdacqua means, built in the water – for the abundance of water in the region).
Introdacqua is about an hours’ drive from Gianluca’s town. We are on the Monte Maiella (known as the mother mountain) the second largest peak in the Apennines.
Before I go on, I would like to say a word about Gianluca’s town. Roseto degli Abruzzi (Roseto) is known for its beautiful beach. It’s called the Lido delle Rose (Beach of the Roses). Its beaches are pristine. It is one of the most beautiful beaches on the Adriatic Sea.
This town was already inhabited in the Roman age. The most ancient settlement going back to those times is Cologna today a “frazione” of Roseto degli Abruzzi, which is often mentioned in medieval documents, above all in relation to the presence of the Monastery of San Salvatore in Bozzino. In the Middle Ages and for centuries Montepagano was the main center in the area. It is mentioned in several documents both for the presence of the Emperor Lotharius and because it was part of the possessions of the Abbey of San Giovanni in Venere. Remains of the ancient medieval fortifications can still be identified in the four entrance doors and in the Romanesque-Baroque belltower built in red bricks, belonging in the past to the now lost church of Sant’Antimo.
In 1251 Montepagano was included in the newly established Diocese of Atrii.
A beautiful town to live in! I’m sure many of you have seen the videos of Gianluca’s house and garden. Isn’t that a beautiful view of the beach from his garden?
So, the pasta I chose is: Pasta cacio e pepe – Pasta with Cheese & Pepper
This is a fast and fragrant dish made with a few ingredients:
Pasta of your choice – I would use spaghetti or thin spaghetti (I don’t believe Verrigni pasta is available in the States. At least I haven’t seen it.)
Pecorino Romano Cheese
Peppercorns grated – you can substitute Black Pepper
How to prepare:
Boil the water for the pasta with a little salt, since the Pecorino Romano Cheese is already very salty. When the water is boiling, add the pasta. Check the cooking time on the box.
In a frying pan, heat a drizzle of oil with a grated pepper. This will emphasize the smell and taste of the pepper and give more taste to the dish. Add some of the pasta water – about a cup. Be careful adding the water. You are pouring the water into oil. Do it slowly and carefully.
When the pasta is halfway done (soft but not ready to eat), remove it from the water but do not throw the pasta water out. Add the pasta to the frying pan. It will finish cooking in the frying pan.
Mix the pasta well with the pepper and oil mixture in the frying pan. From time to time add a ladle of the pasta water until the pasta is al dente (to taste). Always leave some liquid in the bottom so it doesn’t burn.
Turn off the stove. Add pepper. Mix quickly. Now start incorporating the Pecorino Romano Cheese little by little turning the pasta as you add it. The cheese will be melting. Add more cheese only after the previous one has melted.
Transfer the Pasta to a serving dish, sprinkle with more cheese and pepper if needed. The pasta must be served when hot. If you let it lay it will get sticky.
I do hope this is something you will enjoy, and I wish we could all share it with Gianluca.
Serve with red or white wine. Of course, my choice is always Montepulcino d’Abruzzi!
Credit to owners of all photos and video.