Monday, January 11, 2010

pasta alchemy

Monday: Cook's Illustrated's Cacio e Pepe

More of a method than a recipe, Victor made this magically creamy pasta for dinner. We picked up a copy of Cook's Illustrated for airplane reading when we were in San Francisco last week, and this was one of the recipes we both wanted to make out of it:

Cacio e Pepe
  • 1-2 tsp kosher salt
  • about 2 C finely grated Pecorino Romano (~ 4 oz)
  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • 2 Tbsp half and half
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • fresh black pepper, finely ground (about 1 1/2 tsp)
  • about 1 C coarsely grated Pecorino Romano (~ 2 oz)
Bring 2 quarts water to a boil (for the recipe to work, it's important to use more or less exactly this amount of water, so measure it before it goes on the stove). Add the salt and the pasta; cook until just al dente. Reserve 1 1/2 C cooking water (which should be very starchy) and drain the pasta.

Whisk most of the reserved cooking liquid (1 C) into the finely grated cheese until smooth, then whisk in the half and half, oil, and pepper. Pour the sauce over the pasta, tossing to coat. Let the pasta rest for 2-3 minutes, tossing frequently, to allow the pasta to absorb some of the sauce while the sauce thickens. If you need to, add some of the rest of the reserved cooking liquid. Top with the coarsely grated cheese.
serves 4

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