This elevated cacio e pepe recipe takes a simple pasta dish and transforms it with the addition of English peas and crispy prosciutto. You'll want to use high quality pasta - preferably bucatini - only cooked until al dente. The result is a fantastic spring meal.
The secret to cacio e pepe's success lies in the cheese; both cheeses used in this recipe are aged and very dry. A microplane is ideal for grating these types of cheese - it allows the hard cheese to melt faster without any clumping.
- 3 ounces prosciutto
- 1 cup fresh English peas
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 ounces dried bucatini
- 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 ounces Parmesan Reggiano, finely grated on a microplane
- 1.5 ounces Pecorino Romano, finely grated on a microplane
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Olive oil
Blanch the English peas in a small pot of water for about a minute. Strain and add to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking - strain again. Coat a large stainless steel pan with a touch of olive oil over medium heat. Fry the prosciutto in the pan, cooking on each side until crispy - remove from the pan and set aside. Once cooled, break the prosciutto into bite sized pieces.
Cook the bucatini in lightly salted water until just under al dente. Strain the bucatini but reserve a cup of the cooking water.
Melt two tablespoons of butter in the pan where the prosciutto was cooked. Add all of the cracked black pepper and cook until fragrant. Next, add a 1/2 cup of the pasta water, and the last tablespoon of butter. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook until thick. Cut the heat and add all of the pasta, plus the English peas - stir everything together using tongs. Add all of the cheese and toss until it's melted and everything is combined. If the pasta seems dry, add more of the pasta water. Salt to taste. Place the pasta into bowls, top with the crispy prosciutto pieces, and serve immediately.