Bala Cynwyd / Grubspotting / Italian

Grubspotting: Cotoletta’s Cacio e Pepe

Cotoletta BYOB in Belmont Hills has introduced Cacio e Pepe. It’s one of the very few restaurants in the Philadelphia area to offer the classic Roman staple, while guests watch the mouthwatering pasta creation being prepared in front of them, right in the dining room.

For the “Cacio e Pepe” or “cheese and pepper” dish, chef/owner Beth Amadio presents an entire wheel of Pecorino Romano cheese, turning a simple pasta dish into a visual, sensory experience for diners. “It’s actually one of my favorite dishes,” said Amadio. “It’s simple and so delicious. I decided to introduce something that you would find in the Old Country. In Italy, they prepare a variety of dishes tableside.”

At Cotoletta, the expansive cheese wheel sits on an authentic butcher block table in the center of the dining room. First, a blowtorch flame warms and melts the inside of the cheese. Beth then adds the spaghetti along with a touch of “pasta water,” which she methodically mixes with the sharp, salty pecorino, and then adorns with fresh cracked pepper. Having just three ingredients, it seems painfully basic, but the technique of swirling the still hot pasta with steaming cheese into a creamy, perfect sauce takes a bit of speed and finesse.

Watch Beth prepare the dish here:

Cacio e Pepe is available for $16 for two as a preparation during dinner, Wednesday through Sunday from 5 p.m. The rustic Italian BYOB, located at 201 Jefferson Street in Bala Cynwyd, is also open for brunch on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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