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Make 2 classic Italian pastas at home: Cacio e pepe and rigatoni all'Amatriciana

Simple ingredients shine in these two classic Italian dishes.

Chef Evan Funke is joining TODAY Food to share two Italian recipes that showcase how simple, quality ingredients can transform into something truly special.

What I love most about both of these pasta dishes is that they are rooted in a long-standing tradition. These recipes are born of simple ingredients and can only shine through practice. The simplicity of the ingredients belies the complexity achieved in the hands of a master.

Cacio e Pepe

The popularity of cacio e pepe was born in the 1950s and '60s in small osterias in Italy. The innkeepers would serve a very dry version of the dish with abundant black pepper and abundant salty Pecorino cheese in order to entice the patrons to drink more wine. It’s only later that the creamy version was invented by Italian chefs served in restaurants.

Amatriciana is a typical dish served in trattorias and osterias of Rome. The basic ingredients are tomato, guanciale and Pecorino, but the tomato was most likely added in the 17th century. The first written account of this dish appears in the cookbook by Francesco Leonardi who served it to the pope's court in the 1800s.

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