Author Notes: The idea of adding a puddle of ricotta on your cacio e pepe comes from Sora Margherita, a Roman-Jewish restaurant in Rome that’s been around in the 1920s, and likely hasn’t changed much since then. The cacio e pepe base recipe is inspired by one in Katie Parla and Kristina Gill’s Tasting Rome, which comes from Leonardo Vignoli. —Ali Slagle
- 1pound pasta of choice
- 2cups finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan or a combination
- 2teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- Whole-milk ricotta, for serving
- Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 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.
- When the pasta is cooked, quickly add it to the cheese sauce, keeping the cooking water boiling on the stove. Toss vigorously, adjusting with a tablespoon or two of hot water as necessary to melt the cheese and create a sauce that coats the pasta.
- Divide among 4 plates and sprinkle each portion with some of the remaining Pecorino Romano. Dollop a heaping spoonful (close to 1/2 cup) of ricotta in the middle of the pasta piles, and garnish with pepper. Serve pronto.