Boy have I got another easy, delicious weeknight dinner for you. Just like Aglio Olio, this cheesy, peppery pasta dish will come together in a flash (or as quick as it takes you to boil your pasta). If you like black pepper (I’m not even going to make sure that you like cheese, as I assume that that is a given if you are reading my blog), then you will love this dish. And actually, even if you are on the fence about black pepper, consider giving this a try. The first time I ever made this dish, a few years ago, the hubby and I were still a little more hesitant about black pepper, but even then, we loved this dish.
This recipe, although it can be found all over the internet by different names, actually comes from one of my favorite Ina Garten cookbooks, Back to Basics. Packed with all of our favorite ingredients (pasta and cheese), this recipe really packs a punch – the salty pecorino, the bite of the fresh cracked pepper…you are going to love it!
Although I originally followed the recipe verbatim, I now, like most things, have made a few personal tweeks – we cut down the pasta to 6 ounces, I’m a little generous on the butter (as usual), a little light handed on the cheese (shocking, I know)…and if you are a measuring freak like me, then know that you can add 1/3 Teaspoon of Kosher Salt and it will be seasoned to perfection.
For this recipe, I really suggest pulling out and prepping all of your ingredients in advance, because it literally takes minutes to make (especially if you are using fresh pasta).
Once you’ve brought your water to a boil, add in your desired pasta – we typically use a tagliatelle or fettuccine, but it’s really all up to personal preference. Now remember, if you are using fresh pasta, this baby is going to be ready before you can say, “tutti a tavola a mangiare.” But if you are using dry pasta, you’ll have a few more minutes to relax and enjoy a glass of wine.
After dropping your pasta into the salted boiling water, give it a good stir and let it come back to a boil…then it’s time to make the sauce.
Once your pasta is all good and tossed, you will most likely need to add a little bit (1/4 – 1/3 cup) of the pasta water to help loosen things up a little (which is why I always like to use a spider to add the past to my pan, instead of draining the pasta into the sink).
And then it’s basically a race to the table to get that first salty, creamy, cheesy, savory bite. Yum. You will hear sighs all around the table. It is so good.
Maybe not what you would call a “light” dinner, but definitely a dish that will fill your heart and your tummy – a warm bowl of spicy, cheesy pasta that will leave you just a little bit sad when it is all gone…now that is what I call a recipe success.