Just because Mac & Cheese is easy, doesn’t have to mean it can’t have that gourmet feel. In the cookbook, Tasting Rome, Katie Parla and photographer Kristina Gill collaborated on some amazing recipes, including the one below for a version of Italian Mac & Cheese:
Cacio e Pepe di Leonardo Vignoli
Serves 4 to 6
1 pound of spaghetti or tonnarelli
2 cups of finely grated Pecorino Romano
2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
Note: Steps 1 and 2 should be done simultaneously.
1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Salt the water. When the salt has dissolved, add the pasta and cook until al dente.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine 1.5 cups of the Pecorino Romano, the pepper, and a small ladle of pasta-cooking water. Using the back of a large wooden spoon, mix vigorously and quickly to form a paste.
3. When the pasta is cooked, use a large strainer to remove it from the cooking water and quickly add it to the sauce in the bowl, keeping the cooking water boiling on the stove. Toss vigorously, adjusting with additional hot water a tablespoon or two at a time as necessary to melt the cheese and to obtain a juicy sauce that completely coats the pasta.
4. Plate and sprinkle each portion with some of the remaining Pecorino Romano and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.