Pasta with Pecorino Romano and black pepper
Note: Adapted from "Sauces & Shapes: Pasta the Italian Way" by Oretta Zanini de Vita and Maureen B. Fant (W.W. Norton, $35).
• 4 heaping tbsp. black peppercorns
• About 10 rounded tbsp. freshly grated young Pecorino Romano
• 3 tbsp. kosher salt
• 1 lb. pasta (spaghetti, bucatini, fusilli or rigatoni)
• 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, optional
Bring 5 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. While the water is heating, fold the peppercorns into a sheet of waxed paper or an old cloth napkin and whack them repeatedly with a blunt instrument, such as a meat tenderizer or the bottom edge of a pan, until coarsely cracked. Mix the cheese and pepper in a small bowl.
Add kosher salt to the boiling water, then add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. When pasta is almost done, add a large spoonful of its water to a serving bowl to warm. Transfer drained pasta to the bowl; reserve the cooking water.
Add olive oil to the pasta and toss. Sprinkle on the cheese and pepper and toss vigorously. The sauce will form right on the pasta as the residual water mixes with the cheese. Add some of the reserved cooking water to spread things around if need be. Serve immediately on warmed dishes.
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories 469 Fat 5 g Sodium 186 mg Saturated fat 2 g
Carbohydrates 85 g Protein 19 g Cholesterol 13 mg Dietary fiber 4 g