Thursday, June 26, 2008

Cacio e Pepe

A great pasta for the summer. A Roman standard and hard to beat.

6 ounces penne or bucatini

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/3 cup (packed) freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese (about 1 ounce)

Freshly ground black pepper

Fill large serving bowl with hot water to heat bowl; let stand while cooking pasta. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid. Pour out hot water from serving bowl. Immediately add drained pasta and oil to bowl, then cheese and toss to coat. If dry, add some of reserved pasta cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve.

The key to this dish is pan searing the whole black peppercorns. Once heated crush in a dish towel with a hammer or snap in a food processor.

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