Usually when I eat out, I’m drawn to dishes I don’t (or can’t) normally cook for myself. But when I saw bavette cacio e pepe on the menu at Enoteca San Marco in Las Vegas, I just had to order it.
Cacio e pepe, or “cheese and pepper,” couldn’t be a simpler dish to make, and I’ve been obsessed with it lately, making it nearly every week for months. Bavette (like a thin linguini) is the traditional shape, and once the pasta is cooked al dente, it’s mixed with a touch of olive oil, butter, a generous amount of grated pecorino Romano cheese, and fresh ground black pepper—resulting in an extremely satisfying dish.
Enoteca San Marco is one of chef Mario Batali’s restaurants, and the cacio e pepe recipe I’ve been making is based on Batali’s recipe, so I just had to see how my version stacked up. They were very similar, though the San Marco version was creamier than mine, and the pasta a bit more toothsome. No matter who cooks it, I just love this dish.
For a wine pairing, I went with Terredora's 2008 Falanghina, from the Campania region in southwest Italy. It was extremely fragrant, showing floral and citrus peel notes and the crisp pear, apple and mineral flavors that really complemented my pasta. I even picked up a whiff of white pepper that paired with the black pepper in the dish. It was a good value (the restaurant served a 250ml pour for $17), and I rated it 88 points, non-blind.
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