Monday, May 3, 2010

Spaghetti with Cheese & Pepper

I'm probably in the mood for mac and cheese 9 days out of 10.  But I'm only in the mood to make mac and cheese, well, not very often.  And definitely not on a school work night.  So that's why this super easy cheesy pasta dish fills the mac and cheese void - for adults at least.  Kids might want to stick to the blue box.  I always see recipes for "adult" mac and cheese, but in reality any mac and cheese made with freshly grated cheese and made with care is going to be appealing to any adult I know.  Most people love a good carby dish topped with fat!  Come to mama!

The only thing you probably need to go out and buy to make this dish is Pecorino Romano - and that keeps in the fridge for ages, so you can keep it on hand and then you won't need to buy anything.  Your ingredient list includes: thin spaghetti, Pecorino Romano, olive oil, fresh black pepper, kosher salt, and butter.

The recipe calls for 4 oz. Pecorino Romano, so I got to break out my new scale.  I'm planning on using it for baking, but it works for random recipes calling for weird portions of ingredients too.

Apparently the air weighs 2 mg or something.

I felt like I was back in chemistry lab zeroing the scale with a paper towel on top.  Deja vu or something.

Nothing like freshly grated cheese.  I used my Microplane zester, which works great for hard cheeses too.  And is frankly a lot easier to clean than a box grater.

I used "thin spaghetti," which is in between spaghetti and angel hair in terms of thickness.  The perfect diameter if you ask me.  Oh, you didn't?

The noodles get coated with a thin layer of cheese and then you top it with even more cheese, because a thin layer isn't enough.  This isn't health food, people.

The cheese isn't the only important aspect though - freshly cracked pepper really brings the dish to another level.  My cheese wasn't too salty, so I also topped the dish with flaky kosher salt.  I scarfed down two big bowls of this when John was away.  Hey, I needed comforting!

Spaghetti with Cheese & Pepper
From Smitten Kitchen

1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound thin spaghetti
2 tablespoons butter
4 oz. Pecorino Romano, grated
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
Kosher salt

Cook spaghetti according to package directions.  Make sure you save 1 1/2 cups pasta water and THEN drain the pasta (I have problems remembering to do this sometimes).  Dry the pasta pot thoroughly with a paper towel and then heat 1/4 cup olive oil over high heat until extremely hot.  Add drained pasta to the hot oil immediately pour in 1 cup of reserved pasta water and put lid on - there will be some serious splatter.  Stir the pasta a bit and then melt in 2 tablespoons butter.  Once melted, add in 3 oz grated Pecorino Romano and 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper.  Toss the pasta and then serve topped with kosher salt and and the rest of the freshly grated cheese.

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