I originally discovered the technique of tossing cheese in cornstarch from Heston Blumenthal's cheese sauce recipe. After testing myself, it did indeed prevent the cheese proteins from clumping after exposure to higher-than-normal heat. I have seen the technique also used in Kenji's mac-and-cheese recipe on Serious Eats.
Would this technique not also work for cacio e pepe? The cornstarch serves dual purposes: it prevents the cheese from clumping when heated excessively, and the extra starch helps emulsification.
This seems like the most foolproof way of producing proper cacio e pepe every time. You can simply throw in the cheese coated in cornstarch while cooking the pasta in the sauce, without worrying about the pan temperature and emulsification.
I'm going to try it tonight. It seems intuitively correct. What are your thoughts?