Cacio’s Cacio e Pepe

The star dish at the Pocket-area restaurant is deceptively simple.
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cacio e pepe from cacio
Cacio e pepe. Photo by Debbie Cunningham.

When the star dish on a menu contains just a handful of ingredients, technique is essential. So says Jonathan Kerksieck, chef-owner at Cacio, a cozy Italian restaurant in Sacramento’s Pocket neighborhood where the deceptively simple CACIO E PEPE delights diners. Kerksieck heats olive oil and butter in a pan, throwing in close to a tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper and letting it sizzle until it’s aromatic. In goes the cooked pasta with some starchy pasta water, along with about a cup of finely grated pecorino cheese. The pasta is tossed with tongs as the cheese melts and transforms into a decadent sauce. “It takes practice,” says Kerksieck. “The pasta and the water have to be hot enough and the cheese grated as freshly as possible so that it melts easily.”

Cacio

7600 Greenhaven Drive;
(916) 399-9309;
caciosacramento.com