Cacio e pepe according to Arcangelo Dandini

Cacio e pepe according to Arcangelo Dandini

On the occasion of Cheese, Arcangelo Dandini held a workshop in which he illustrated 4 versions of cacio e pepe pasta: here they are in detail.

During Cheese 2015 we attended an enlightening workshop on cacio e pepe , held by the Roman chef Arcangelo Dandini , of the Arcangelo restaurant in Rome, in which all the secrets of one of the Roman pastas par excellence, so simple but absolutely not obvious, were make a great cheese and pepper it is necessary to have excellent raw materials Also in the chair with the chef is Giuseppe Di Martino , from the Di Martino di Gragnano pasta factory, organizer of the workshop together with Slow Food; Eugenio Signoroni of Slow Food and the beer expert Roberto Parodi. The Roman chef explained that ” to make a great cacio e pepe, given its great simplicity, it is necessary to have great raw materials, starting with pasta “.

cacio and martino pepper

Arcangelo Dandini is famous for his cooking of pasta, which is not al dente, but something more: al chiodo. This type of fast cooking enhances the characteristics of the pasta, which is more crunchy under the teeth, rougher on the palate, tastier (because cooking it less allows you to perceive the characteristics of the grain more clearly) and more digestible.

archangel dandini

The chef proposed, and told, 4 recipes of cacio e pepe , with different pasta shapes, decided to enhance the type of cheese chosen. The cacio e pepe in question were the 2 traditional Roman types with pecorino and pepper spaghetti, and 2 variations, one dedicated to Northern Italy and one to Southern Italy.


  1. cheese and sandy pepperSandy cheese and pepper: the sandy version of the cheese and pepper is the ancestor. Chef Dandini proposes it in its most extreme version: Gragnano spaghetti, cooked strictly on the nail, are seasoned exclusively with grated pecorino and a little pepper (previously toasted and beaten in a mortar so that its aroma is fully expressed). The chef explains that this pasta cannot be too loaded with pepper, because it is of popular origin and pepper is a spice that was found more in the kitchens of the rich, therefore it is very unlikely that it was used in large quantities. This version is essential but very pleasant, the crunchiness and roughness of the pasta combine perfectly with the dry sprinkling of pecorino and pepper.
  2. cheese and creamy pepperCreamy cacio e pepe: the creamy version is, according to the chef, the bourgeois evolution of the sandy cacio e pepe. This interpretation is absolutely plausible and supported by the fact that this version of cacio e pepe was codified for the first time by Ada Boni, a character belonging to the Roman upper middle class of the Parioli, in her Talisman of Happiness . The ingredients are the same as in the sandy version: absolutely essential is the spaghetto di Gragnano cooked al chiodo, rough and crunchy. The preparation varies, because the pecorino is creamed with water and increases the amount of pepper a little. The result is a spaghetti totally wrapped in this cream cheese, soft and velvety, savory but that goes well with the sweetness of the wheat.
  3. cacio_and_pepe_finale_2Cacio e pepe homage to Southern Italy : a striped flagpole was chosen to represent the South, once called maltagliated. This flagpole made the most of the cream cheese, prepared with an excellent Provolone del Monaco and extra virgin olive oil, two representative products of the Southern culture. The result, needless to say, was amazing. The flavor of the provolone and oil cream, which is soft but still slightly rustic on the palate, completely embraces the Gragnano striped flagpole joining its sweetness; pepper is the icing on the cake. To try.
  4. cheese and northern pepperCacio e pepe homage to Northern Italy : this variant of cacio e pepe features an excellent Gragnano rigatone, which is able to excellently enhance the cream cheese. To prepare this version, the chef used one of the northern cheeses par excellence: Castelmagno, softening it with clarified butter, left to cool slightly. For the rest, there is nothing different from the preparation of classic cacio e pepe. The result? A great rigatone cooked al chiodo, rough and crunchy, seasoned with a velvety cream and a sprinkling of pepper. Delicious.

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