With this cheese-and-pepper pasta, it’s all in the details. Here are four perfect plates.
Chitarra Cacio e Pepe at Forma
This cheese-focused restaurant makes its version by tossing the pasta tableside in a 50-pound wheel of Pecorino Romano rather than making it with grated cheese in the kitchen. It’s “a unique preparation” with “freshly scraped” cheese, says co-owner Mario Sabatini. $24, 1610 Montana Ave., Santa Monica.
Bavette Cacio e Pepe at Osteria Mozza
It’s “one of the only things on our menu that we try to keep as pure and true to form as possible,” says executive chef Elizabeth Hong of her version, which is done with just pasta, cheese, black pepper, and olive oil. The secret, she says, is getting the “correct balance of salty and spicy.” $20, 6602 Melrose Ave., Hancock Park.
Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe at Felix
Chef Evan Funke’s take is informed by his having eaten the dish all over Rome. He uses a specific type of Pecorino Romano—Fulvi—which is made with whole milk and is uniquely creamy. “The higher milk fat provides opportunity for longer aging without sacrificing the structure and body of the cheese,” he says. $24, 1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice.
Cacio e Pepe at Sixth + Mill
Chef Angelo Auriana uses four peppers—white, pink, and two different blacks—to give his noodles a unique kick. “When combined,” he says, they “simply melt in your mouth.” $18, 1335 E. 6th St., Arts District.
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