In dialect Cacio e Pepe means "Pecorino and Pepper" the 2 main ingredients in this classic Roman pasta dish. Dialects are spoke in each region and almost each town in Italy. Everyone of them being unique. Someone who speaks Roman dialect doesn't know Turin dialect. They are the local language, but not everyone who lives in these places knows how to speak or interpret these unique dialects. Dialects were and are still spoken among the farmers, the middle/lower and lower class. They don't necessarily sound like Italian either. This was a way for these traders and people to speak to one another in a more casual less educated manner. These people were most definitely educated in their trade, but noblemen or wealthy families were not the ones speaking these languages. Dialect is still spoken today, but not as prominent as before.
Cacio e pepe is from Rome where Pecorino a cheese made from sheep's milk is very popular. This cheese, pecorino is said to have been around thousands of years before Christ and migrated to Italy from North Africa and the Mediterranean. This cheese a bit spicy and has a bite to it. It is not a soft cheese, but it is not a hard cheese like a 24-36 month aged Parmigiana Reggiano cheese. When shepards when out for long journeys with their herds they would take with them a few food items, 3 of them being:
1. Pecorino 2. Pepper 3. Dried Pasta
The 3 main ingredients for Cacio e Pepe! The shepards were culinary masters.
Yields 2 servings
1/3 box of Spaghetti (I used Barilla pasta)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (Lupak)
1/4 cup grated Pecorino cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Cracked black pepper
Optional to add 1 egg if the pasta isn't binding to the sauce very well
1. Heat a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling add salt and the pasta. Allow the pasta to cook al dente (roughly 7-8 minutes).
2. Meanwhile grate the cheese.
3. Add the butter to a sauce pan over low heat. Melt the butter.
4. Once the pasta is al dente add it to the sauce pan with the butter. Add the cheese(s) and black pepper. Gently mix the pasta and sauce together to coat each noodle. If at this point the sauce and the noodles aren't binding, remove the sauce pan from the heat add an egg and mix together. The heat will cook the egg and coat the noodles.
Serve hot and grate some more Pecorino and a little bit more pepper.