5 (6)

Mains, Quick and Easy, Vegetarian

Spaghetti with crushed black pepper and pecorino cheese

Spaghetti with crushed black pepper and pecorino cheese
Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times

It seemed so unlikely. Three ingredients: spaghetti, pecorino cheese and black pepper. That and a little of the salted water the pasta was cooked in. Toss them together, and you'd have a great dish. How could it possibly amount to ... Read more

Total time: About 25 minutes | Serves 6
  • Salt for the pasta water
  • 2 tablespoon whole black peppercorns, or more to taste
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated pecorino cheese, or more to taste

Step 1Bring a big pot of salted water to the boil. Meanwhile, grind the peppercorns very coarsely, preferably crushing them in a mortar with a pestle or in a spice grinder.

Step 2Warm up a big bowl for mixing and serving the pasta -- use some of the pasta water to heat the bowl, if you like. Cook the spaghetti until al dente. Quickly lift it from the pot with tongs, let it drain for an instant, then drop it into the warm bowl.

Step 3Immediately scatter a cup of the grated cheese and most of the ground pepper on the pasta, and toss in quickly. As you mix, sprinkle over spoonfuls of hot water from the cooking pot to moisten and amalgamate the pasta and condiments -- add more pepper or cheese, or both, to taste. Serve while the spaghetti is very hot.

Note: From "Lidia's Italy." Use a very good authentic pecorino, one produced in Lazio, Tuscany or Sardinia. The cheese is at its best when aged only 8 to 10 months.


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