I've been trying to make a very basic three-ingredient cacio e pepe over the last few days and have found it difficult to create a smooth, creamy sauce.
I'm using only two cups of microplane-grated pecorino romano cheese, a handful of spaghetti, and crushed black pepper. Salt in the pasta water, too, of course.
I've tried it two ways and gotten varying results:
- Cooking the pasta shallow water in a wide pan to concentrate the starch. Then, drain, lower the heat and add the pasta back in with a few ladles of water and adding the cheese gradually, tossing stirring violently with a wooden spoon.
- Add some of the pasta water to the cheese in a separate bowl a few minutes before the pasta finishes cooking. Whisk the pasta water and cheese into a paste, then add the finished pasta to it with some extra water and, again, stir like crazy.
Neither seems to work very well, though my best results so far came from (1), but I'm quite convinced it was luck. What might I be doing wrong or overcomplicating? Everything I see on the Internet says it should be "very easy", but the lack of videos showing this recipe has made it difficult to learn. The videos I have seen use a lot of olive oil and butter, which I'm told is absolutely not traditional or okay.