Justin Bieber's Favorite Pasta Recipe Only Has 4 Ingredients
Ethan Taylor, personal chef to the stars, has prepared his fair share of extravagant dinners for A-list clients. From Eddie Murphy to Diddy, Taylor's no stranger to cooking for people with luxurious tastes. However, back when he was Justin Bieber's personal chef, his most popular dish was decidedly simple.
Cacio e pepe, which Taylor describes as the "mac and cheese of Rome," is a rich and creamy pasta dish made with just four ingredients: spaghetti, Pecorino, Parmesan, and black pepper. Bieber originally tasted Taylor's version at the recording studio of the chef's then-client Tricky Stewart, who produced the 2010 hit "Baby." When Taylor began cooking for Bieber, the singer asked if he knew how to make spaghetti. To Bieber's surprise, he'd already tasted Taylor's cacio e pepe recipe. This dish became Bieber's favorite post-performance meal because of it savoriness and simplicity.
Taylor would often prepare the dish for guests visiting Bieber's home, including Drake, Jaden Smith, and Kylie Jenner. Whether served on its own or accompanied by a protein, cacio e pepe is incredibly easy to make. In the video above, Taylor takes us through the recipe.
Step One: Boil The Pasta
Traditionally, cacio e pepe is made with spaghetti, but you can also use other long pasta shapes like bucatini and linguine. Depending on the dietary restrictions of his clients, Taylor might forgo adding salt to the pot of water. Set a timer to boil your pasta according to the package's directions and make sure it's cooked to al dente. If your noodles don't fit in the pot, give it a few seconds to soften in the water before pushing the rest down.
Step Two: Toast The Peppercorns
In a dry pan over medium heat, add a hefty amount of whole black peppercorns—depending on your spice tolerance, you can use anywhere from a teaspoon to several tablespoons. It may seem like a superfluous step, but toasting is essential for bringing out the pepper's naturally sweet and nutty aroma. You'll see some residual steam evaporating and hear some of the peppercorns pop in the pan.
Step Three: Make The Cheese & Pepper Paste
Once your peppercorns are fragrant and toasted, transfer them to a mortar and pestle and break them down to a powder. Transfer the freshly ground pepper to a bowl and add grated Pecorino and Parmesan. The Romans traditionally just use Pecorino, but Taylor also includes Parmesan to incorporate some umami and nuttiness. You should use roughly 3/4 cup of each, but feel free to add more if you like your pasta extra cheesy. Combine the pepper and cheese before adding starchy pasta water, a ladle at a time, until it resembles the thickness of mashed potatoes.
Step Four: Assemble The Cacio e Pepe
By now, your pasta should be al dente. You can drain the noodles, but it's essential to hold on to about a cup of starchy pasta water in case you need to loosen the sauce. Transfer the pasta to a pan (it can be the same one you used to toast the peppercorns) and keep the heat off. Add your cheese and pepper paste directly over the pasta and stir to combine. The residual heat of the noodles will melt the cheese and create a rich, creamy sauce. If needed, you can add more pasta water a splash at a time. Your sauce should be sufficiently salty from the cheese but make sure to taste and season with more salt as needed. Garnish with more cheese and serve.
And just like that, your celebrity-approved cacio e pepe is ready! If you try this recipe, let us know how it tastes in the comments.
Previously on Celebrity Eats: Drake's Former Personal Chef Makes His Favorite Shrimp Tacos
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