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R: “What are you making?”

G: “Spaghetti with Pecorino Romano and black pepper.”

R: “Sounds good. What’s in it?”

G: “Spaghetti, Pecorino Romano and black pepper.”

 

Truthfully, there’s also 2 other ingredients, but it’s really that simple. I’ve made it twice and this recipe is so easy and quick, but comforting and satisfying. Plus, it’s not *that* bad for you, given that most creamy sauces will kill you in butter and cream. This recipe has but 2 teaspoons of EVOO and 2 tablespoons of cream. You can easily add a protein (diced chicken, sautéed shrimp) if you want to amp it up. Pair it with a salad and dinner is on the table in 20 minutes.

BTW, January 4th is National Spaghetti Day! Celebrate it with this recipe!

Spaghetti with Pecorino Romano and Black Pepper (Cacio e Pepe)

 

Serves 4 to 6.   Published January 1, 2010.   From Cook's Illustrated.

 

High-quality ingredients are essential in this dish, most importantly, imported Pecorino Romano—not the bland domestic cheese labeled “Romano.” Use the small holes on a box grater to grate the cheese finely and the large holes to grate it coarsely. Alternatively, a food processor may be used to grate it finely: Cut the Pecorino into 2-inch pieces and process until finely ground, about 45 seconds. For a slightly less rich dish, substitute half-and-half for the heavy cream. Do not adjust the amount of water for cooking the pasta. Stir the pasta frequently while cooking so that it doesn’t stick to the pot. Letting the dish rest briefly before serving allows the flavors to develop and the sauce to thicken.

 

6

ounces Pecorino Romano cheese , 4 ounces finely grated (about 2 cups) and 2 ounces coursely grated (about 1 cup) (see note)

1

pound spaghetti

 

Table salt

2

tablespoons heavy cream (see note)

2

teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2

teaspoons finely ground black pepper

Instructions

1. Place finely grated Pecorino in medium bowl. Set colander in large bowl.

2. Bring 2 quarts water to boil in large Dutch oven. Add pasta and 1½ teaspoons salt; cook, stirring frequently, until al dente. Drain pasta into colander set in bowl, reserving cooking water. Pour 1½ cups cooking water into liquid measuring cup and discard remainder; return pasta to now-empty bowl.

3. Slowly whisk 1 cup reserved pasta cooking water into finely grated Pecorino until smooth. Whisk in cream, oil, and black pepper. Gradually pour cheese mixture over pasta, tossing to coat. Let pasta rest 1 to 2 minutes, tossing frequently, adjusting consistency with remaining ½ cup reserved pasta water. Serve, passing coarsely grated Pecorino separately.

 

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