Monday, August 3, 2009

Pasta with Pecorino and Pepper

My family went camping this weekend which is always fun but exhausting. In my post camping, laundry-induced coma I could do nothing but collapse on my couch, stare at the t.v. and mentally think of all the things I had to do. Cooking dinner was one problem and my overgrown herb pot on the patio was another. Yard work was beckoning and my parsley and basil needed an industrial weed whacker. Then divine intervention came in the form of Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. I watched her deftly turn a bunch of parsley into a fabulous meal with pasta and a few quality ingredients. This recipe seemed just too simple but boy, did it hit the spot. I also used our home-grown cherry tomatoes which made me feel very industrious indeed. I modified her recipe a little but given my state yesterday, I was just happy I could boil water!

Pasta with Pecorino & Pepper

1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
1 pound dried Italian egg pasta, such as tagliarelle (I just used regular linguine)
1 cup freshly grated aged Pecorino cheese, plus extra for serving
3 - 4 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1 - 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil leaves
large handful of cherry tomatoes - sliced in half

Fill a large, heavy-bottomed pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add 1tablespoon salt and the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package until al dente. Ladle 1 cup of the pasta cooking water into a glass measuring cup and reserve it. Drain the pasta quickly in a colander and return the pasta to the pot with a lot of the pasta water still dripping.

Working quickly, with the heat on very low, toss the pasta with 1 cup of the grated Pecorino, tomatoes, pepper, cream, butter, parsley, and 1 teaspoon salt, tossing constantly. If the pasta seems dry, add some of the reserved cooking water. Off the heat, toss in the remaining 1/2 cup Pecorino. Serve immediately with a big bowl of extra grated Pecorino for sprinkling. Toss a simple green salad, pour a nice summer wine and enjoy.

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