“(Cacio e Pepe) has a lot of slight spice to it that accents the unique spice that the Merlot has.”

- Kolin Vazzoler, SIMI Executive Chef

Cacio e Pepe

By Kolin Vazzoler, SIMI Executive Chef

Serves 4-6 people

INGREDIENTS

8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

l pound spaghetti

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, microplaned

DIRECTIONS

Heat 6 tablespoons olive oil and about a tablespoon of cracked black pepper in a medium skillet over medium-low heat to toast the pepper, about l minute. Set aside.

Place spaghetti in a pot with boiling water. Season with a pinch of salt, should taste like the sea. Cook until spaghetti is al dente (typically about l minute less than the package recommends). Transfer 4 to 6 tablespoons of pasta cooking water to the skillet with the olive oil pepper mixture. Stir in butter. Using tongs, lift spaghetti and transfer it to the oil/butter mixture.

Add cheese and remaining olive oil to the skillet and stir until cheese is completely melted. Add a few more tablespoons of pasta water to the skillet to adjust consistency until the sauce is creamy. Season to taste with salt and more black pepper. Serve.

Serve with 2015 SIMI Winery Sonoma Valley Lot No 144 Merlot. This wine is full bodied, and has firm tannin structure and unique spice that rounds out the black pepper in this dish.