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Crazy for Cacio e Pepe? Check Out Two Recipes from NYC Hotspot Maialino…

May 12, 2011

If you have ever dined in Rome’s famous Roman Ghetto, you have most likely tried Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe. Situated in the Sant’Angelo district, the Roman Ghetto is rich in history and boasts some of the best rustic “comfort-food” cuisine in all of Italy. Cacio e Pepe – meaning literally cheese and pepper – is so simple, but packs a major punch. The sharpness of fresh, salty pecorino romano cheese and freshly grated course black pepper tossed with perfectly al dente spaghetti is pure heaven. Danny Meyer’s NYC hotspot, Maialino, serves not only a divine Tonnarelli a Cacio e Pepe, prepared by Chef Nick Anderer, for dinner, but also serves an incredibly unique Soft Scrambled Eggs Cacio e Pepe for brunch. The creamy, soft scrambled eggs are prepared in the same style as the pasta with pecorino romano and black pepper, just brilliantly transformed into a breakfast dish.

Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe is one of my all-time favorite meals and I’m thrilled to share Maialino’s recipe, created by Chef Anderer, for both the pasta dish and the scrambled eggs. Although the ingredients are simple, the execution and technique is very important. I hope you will enjoy making one or both of these delectable dishes. Buon Appetito!

Image Courtesy of Daily Candy

Tonnarelli a Cacio e Pepe

Recipe Courtesy of Chef Nick Anderer via DailyCandy
Serves four

1 lb. tonnarelli* or spaghettini
1 tsp. salt
Coarsely ground black pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 c. grated pecorino cheese, plus more to taste (Fulvi pecorino romano from Murrays’ Cheese suggested)

1. Bring salted water to a boil and drop in spaghettini.

2. While the pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat.

3. Crack pepper into the oil to suit your palate. Anderer suggests roughly six or seven grinds per 4-ounce serving of pasta (a 1-pound bag would require four times that amount).

4. Once the cracked pepper begins to sizzle, add a small ladle of pasta water to the pan and remove from direct flame.

5. When pasta is cooked, strain, keeping a cup of pasta water in reserve.

6. Toss drained pasta in the pan and gradually mix in grated pecorino.

7. If pasta gets too sticky, slowly add pasta water to loosen the sauce.

*Tonnarelli is a thicker more squared version of spaghetti that is very popular in Rome. You can find tonnarelli at gourmet Italian markets. If not, spaghettini will work just fine!


Maialino's Soft Scrambled Eggs Cacio e Pepe

Soft Scrambled Eggs Cacio e Pepe

Recipe Courtesy of Chef Nick Anderer via DailyCandy
Serves four

10 farm fresh eggs
½ c. whole milk
1 c. grated pecorino, plus more to taste
2 tbsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1 tbsp. butter
Salt to taste
Crusty Italian bread

1. Melt butter in a nonstick skillet (9 to 10 inches in diameter) over medium heat.

2. Whisk together eggs and milk; pour into the skillet.

3. Stir continuously for four to five minutes with a heat-resistant rubber spatula until the eggs begin to lightly scramble.

4. Stir in the pecorino, black pepper, and salt.

5. Transfer eggs to a platter before they cook to a hard scramble. The final product should be creamy and loose.

6. Sprinkle more pecorino over the top and serve with crusty bread.


Maialino, 2 Lexington Avenue, at 21st Street (212-777-2410 or

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