If you get my list of must-do”s in Rome (and if you’re coming to Rome even if you don’t know me, you’re required to get that list) always sempre always on the List is the pasta dish called Cacio e Pepe.   Simply it means ‘cheese and pepper’.  In practice, it takes a gifted hand in the kitchen to turn pasta and some of its water with parmigiano reggiano and black pepper into one of the best pasta dishes ever!

The first time I ever saw it is at this little hole in the wall Sora Margherita in the Jewish Ghetto.  In Rome, of course.  I watched as plate after plate of it came steaming out of the kitchen and knew right then and there:  I wanted it!

I was – for some odd reason – too intimidated to ask.  So I figured it had to have the word “parmigiana” in it, being so cheesy and all.  So,  I mumbled parmigiano and ended up with some red-sauced dish I suspect was Eggplant Parmigiano.   Certainly, not the steaming plate of pasta with the mound of cheese I was expecting.

Right up there with pizza bianca and my daily serving of gelato comes the pasta of my dreams: cacio e pepe.  Want it.  Gotta have it.  And,  I do!  Every trip is a return trip to Sora Margherita.  A place, by the way,  you can barely find, hidden as it is behind the fall of red ropes at its door.  The sign outside is new.