Spaghetti with pecorino and black pepper

Spaghetti with pecorino and black pepper

By
From
The Art Of The Larder
Photographer
Mike Lusmore

Pecorino (hard ewe’s milk cheese) is best to use here. You will need plenty of it, combined with the cooking water and the pepper, as this makes the sauce. Cook the pasta on the firmer side of al dente; in this and some other recipes the cooked pasta is reintroduced to the heat along with its sauce for a minute or so to meld and continue cooking in the pan. Any recipe that calls for the pasta to be drained, tossed and served immediately does not require such a lean cooking time.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
300g spaghetti or linguine
60g butter
1-2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper, or to taste (ground quite coarsely here is ideal)
120g pecorino cheese, grated

Method

  1. Cook the pasta in salted water as per the packet instructions. Be sure to cook it on the firmer side of al dente, as you will cook it a little more in the sauce at the end.
  2. Five minutes before the pasta is cooked, in a large saucepan over a moderate heat, melt the butter with the ground pepper to infuse the flavours.
  3. Before draining the pasta, reserve about 100ml of the cooking water with a ladle (the pasta releases its starch and flavour into the cooking water).
  4. Add the cooked drained pasta to the pan of melted butter and cook over a moderate heat for another minute. Add half the reserved cooking water and mix well. If it needs more liquid to make the sauce, add more of the remaining reserved cooking water. The consistency should be fluid but not watery.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat. Add three-quarters of the grated cheese and mix well until the pasta is creamy and evenly coated in the resulting sauce.
  6. Serve immediately, with the remaining grated Pecorino on top and some extra freshly ground black pepper if you like.
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