In my six visits to Rome, I have learned that there are two ABSOLUTES! There are many things I love to do in Rome, but two I MUST do: eat spaghetti carbonara and eat a plate of pasta with cacio e pepe (sometimes more than once)! After that, there are many things I love to do, see, and experience in Rome, but a bowl of cacio e pepe has brought both Brad and I to tears on a first evening in Rome. Can pasta be a spiritual experience? YES! I'm sure it also has to do with the magic of the city, a glass or two of wine or prosecco before dinner, and anticipation of a late evening visit to a bar in Campo dei Fiori, or after dinner coffee at a rooftop bar.
Alas, I have no upcoming trips planned for Rome in the very near future, SO the next best thing?
A bowl of Cacio e pepe at home!
I am lucky to find "Cacio di Roma" at my Bristol Farms.
While pasta is boiling, grate the cheese. Put 1 T. of olive oil in a skillet. When pasta is about one minute BEFORE al dente, Turn skillet on low to heat oil, and add a ladle full of pasta water. Stir in a small handful of the cheese and stir vigorously.
Add cooked pasta, remaining cheese and about 1 t. of freshly ground black pepper and stir until cheese melts and forms a sauce. Add a little more pasta water if necessary.