This is a very simple pasta, and it’s probably one of the best pastas you can eat. It is sad that in many restaurants, it is often messed up terribly.
Ingredients (for 4 people)
- ¾ of a box of spaghetti (a box of spaghetti serves 5 people so adjust accordingly)
- .45 lbs of pecorino romano (I’m looking at what I have in my refrigerator)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Leaves from 1 small bunch of basil (optional)
- Large pinch of freshly grated black pepper
- As the pasta is boiling, grate the pecorino cheese (I use a Cuisinart for this, but you can also hand grate the cheese. Do not use pre-grated cheese because it changes the consistency and flavor. Also, this recipe requires pecorino romano – no other cheese will work.
- Put the grated pecorino cheese into a medium bowl and set it aside.
- About 3-5 minutes before the pasta is ready, put the olive oil in a 12-14 inch skillet and warm it up. It should be warm, not hot.
- Use a ladle or a cup to scoop some of the boiling water from the pot where the pasta is cooking.
- Add a little bit of the hot pasta water to the cheese, and mix it with a fork until it becomes smooth, creamy, but not liquid. It should have a thick, smooth consistency, almost like a cream.
- Drain the pasta (not too well), and add it to the pan with the warm olive oil. Mix it with a wooden spoon or fork for 30 seconds.
- Turn off the heat.
- Move the skillet to a cool burner and add the cheese. Mix it well. If it is too thick, add a little more of the water you had reserved. Add black pepper to taste.
- If you have fresh basil, add it to the dish.
- Serve immediately.