The original version of the Roman classic, very different from how we eat it today, chosen by Lorenzo Sandano for his book. Here because
There cheese and pepper it's not that pimp, slippery, creamy thing we know today. No cream, just pasta, oil, cheese and pepper. Only three ingredients for a dish that is born in the shepherds' saddlebags during the transhumance. In fact, to support themselves on the journey, they equipped themselves with functional provisions: black pepper as a heat stimulant, aged pecorino cheese as a high-preservation protein source and pasta for the caloric sprint of carbohydrate. He tells it 100 dishes to taste at least once in a lifetime: a list that ranges from Rome to Full English Breakfast and which is the title of the new book by Lorenzo Sandano, young face of Italian food and wine journalism. A review of unmissable recipes. "This collection was born as a hymn to finding oneself sharing a banquet, but I hope it can also take on the tone of an invitation to travel again", he writes in the introduction, recounting how this book served to overcome the March 2020 lockdown; because dreaming of restaurant or grandmother's kitchen was a better psychological therapy than yoga.
Lorenzo Sandano has long been described as the enfant prodige of Italian food criticism. He started very early and today, when he's not yet 30, he still looks like a kid. An adult palate in a punk boyish body, with more than ten years of apprenticeship behind him. Lorenzo is the demonstration that you can do this job without gaining weight, without losing tenderness, the "core" and even taking always too seriously, as often happens in the kitchen, when you want to preserve the ancient traditions.
Cacio e pepe (and he writes it in the masculine) «It is a free-range and raw meal, remedied with hardship and without comfort, absorbed by the Capitoline taverns for a malicious reason: that trio of dry, salty and spicy flavors“ tangled ”the customers, inciting them to drink and consume. Over time, modern homologation has converted the dish to pimp creaminess and hyper-manted sauces. But let's face it, it's stuff for babies. Luckily, Salvatore Tassa has dusted off this score of gestures on the Ciociarian hills of Acuto, granite like a hermit philosopher, declining them to the present. He, self-described anarchist cook, is the supreme keeper of lost customs of the Lazio countryside. Gruff, learned and bleached enough to match Paolo Conte's rough virtuosity and the edges of a jazzed cacio e pepe .
Salvatore Tassa prepares these spaghetti with a kind of performance: spaghetti thrown into a linen cloth, sprinkled in layers with handfuls of pepper and pecorino in several stages. Wrapping the ball of dough in the fabric, it turns and turns without the aid of water, fire or creaming, entrusting the result only to the manual sensitivity of the cook. This is not new, even the agnolotti del plin in Piedmont are brought unsalted, drained and served on the linen napkin to appreciate their flavor in purity. The tablecloth retains the heat and the scent, but makes the pasta transpire and therefore does not overcook. A pyrotechnic exhibition, which ends with the vaporous opening of the cloth and an old-fashioned service: because real cacio e pepe is eaten with your hands.
To be tasted at least once in a lifetime, along with 99 other recipes.
By Lorenzo Sandano, photos by Alberto Blasetti