trenette di farro in cacio e pepe - cacio e pepe with long farro pasta
the classic roman pasta sauce on a modern whole grain pasta. whole wheat pasta and pasta from different types of grains are becoming popular in italy. this is a long pasta made from farro (a type of spelt). but popular are also pasta made from kamut an ancient grain originating from ancient egypt. and barilla has brought out a line of pasta based on various beans etc.
what i find discouraging is that most of theses pasta are simply substituted one for one, as simply a healthier version, without any thought given to whether the pasta makes sense with given sauce. for instance, wholegrain pasta with tomatoe sauce. tastes very 'healthy', and is maybe good in that sense, but it's not really a great match. personally i find whole grain pasta go well with rich cheese sauces. an earthy balance to the rich creaminess. hence the roman classic cacio e pepe. meaning literally cheese and pepper. already in southern tuscany the locals prefer to call cheese cacio instead of the more common italian formaggio. the cheese sauce emulsion is based solely on a little olive oil and pasta cooking water (the starch in the water helps hold the emulsion). the cheese of traditional choice is pecorino romano, though this is very salty and is often mixed with parmesan. traditional everything is meant to be mixed in the pan. but more often than not its too hot and the cheese coagulates before it has a chance to emulsify in the liquids. my solution. immersion blender. a little hot pasta water. a little olive oil. wait a moment for the hot water to cool a little then add a little cheese. blend. too thin add more cheese. too thick add more water. mix with the pasta and be generous with the pepper.
and with farro pasta, its like deciding to grab the dark bread with the cheese plate.