Giada De Laurentiis Reveals Her Tip For 'Perfect' Cacio E Pepe

The dish "Cacio e Pepe," which translates to "cheese and pepper," is a wonderfully simple dish for those who just can't get enough fresh ground pepper in their lives. The late Anthony Bourdain was a huge fan of the humble dish and in an episode of "No Reservations" filmed in Rome, Bourdain declared Cacio e Pepe "the greatest thing in the history of the world," (via Bravo).

Giada De Laurentiis shows her fans how to make this tasty dish of shells and cheese, though it's usually made with spaghetti. She also shares a pro tip you won't want to miss. In the brief TikTok video, the celebrity chef starts by cooking medium shell-shaped pasta in salted water. As the pot boils, she starts her sauce by toasting "LOTS" of freshly ground pepper in a frying pan with some butter. Then she adds a ladle full of water from the boiling pasta. After adding the cooked pasta to the sauce, De Laurentiis adds a lot of grated Parmesan cheese and tosses it all together.

Now for the important part: Turn off the heat under the frying pan before you add the grated cheese. This is the secret to "perfect" Cacio e Pepe, she points out. Note that, at one point, De Laurentiis refers to the cheese both as Parmesan and as Pecorino Romano. Because these cheeses are similar, we're assuming the seasoned chef has made it both ways and either would work just fine.

Save the pasta water

The "Everyday Italian" host suggests another key to perfect your Cacio e Pepe, stating "the trick here is to turn off the stove before adding the Pecorino ... stir, stir, stir ... Add more pasta water if it seems dry." Therefore, you'll need to remember not to drain away the pasta water until you've reserved a few ladles full! Stir in the pasta water until you get a nice, smooth consistency as seen in the video

De Laurentiis's fans on TikTok responded positively to her super easy and tasty-looking pasta dish with comments like "Looks sooooo good!, "Amazing!," and "Made me hungry." Other fans recalled their moms or grandmothers making this nostalgic childhood favorite and one follower said this recipe is giving them second thoughts about their keto diet. 

Of course, there are always the detractors, including one follower who said Cacio e Pepe "has no butter in it." According to Taste Atlas, this dish was a favorite of ancient Roman shepherds, as the ingredients of pasta, Pecorino Romano, salt, and pepper traveled well. It would stand to reason that butter was not part of the original recipe. Butter or no butter, we're with the late Bourdain — this simple, peppery dish is pretty great.