Pasta Cacio E Uova Uses Eggs And Cheese For A Smooth Neapolitan Sauce

Naples is full of gastronomic delights that always amaze. In fact, even on a regional level, Campania boasts incredible dishes. Yet, beyond flashier classics like Margherita pizza and custard-filled sfogliatelle, recipes like aglio e olio that are made with just a few humble ingredients still manage to wow. Of these modest offerings, one dish has captured our hearts entirely, and that's pasta cacio e uova. Known as cas' e ova in the Neapolitan dialect, the pasta is defined by its incredibly opulent sauce crafted with little more than egg and cheese.

Simple yet substantial, pasta cacio e uova is sort of like the meatless predecessor of its Roman relative, carbonara. Sharing many of the same ingredients like pecorino romano (cacio) and eggs (uova), the Neapolitan recipe forgoes the guanciale and instead works in some Parmigiano Reggiano along with a clove of punchy garlic and a handful of parsley for added complexity. Needless to say, short pasta with ridges like tubetti work best to fully capture these flavorful sauce components.

But, just because pasta cacio e uova is a meat-free dish, this doesn't mean it lacks a savory element. Thanks to the richness of the earthy egg yolks and the funkiness of sweetly salty Parmigiano Reggiano and sharp and zesty Pecorino Romano, the recipe teems with umami flavors — not to mention an abundance of protein. If you're not averse, you can even use melted lard as a meaty nod to the way the dish was traditionally prepared.

How to achieve the silky (and most savory!) sauce

If you've mastered the art of making carbonara sauce, then pasta cacio e uova should be easy to execute as it also comes together through a process of emulsification. Essentially, eggs must first be whisked together with cheese before the thick paste can be added to a pan of oil-coated, al dente pasta with pasta water. Stirring quickly and constantly, the mixture is able to bind with the starchy liquid to create a velvety sauce in mere seconds.

Despite that there are renditions that cook the eggs ever so slightly for added texture, this tends to leave you with a less-than-luscious sauce. To keep cacio e uova nice and glossy, we recommend avoiding a scrambled situation by tempering the eggs with pasta water or over a double boiler before tossing the mixture with water. Likewise, it can be helpful to remove the pan from the heat before slowly pouring in the cheesy mixture. It even pays off to use an extra yolk or two in the emulsion for maximum butteriness. But, most importantly, once the pasta is married with the golden sauce, serve it pronto for the creamiest consistency. The perfect pasta for Meatless Mondays or when you don't feel like eating anything too heavy, cas' e ova delivers big flavors and heavenly textures without much time or effort required — whipping up a silky sauce has never been more straightforward.