Spaghetti with crushed black pepper and pecorino cheese

Time 25 minutes
Yields Serves 6
Spaghetti with crushed black pepper and pecorino cheese
(Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times)

Bring a big pot of salted water to the boil. Meanwhile, grind the peppercorns very coarsely, preferably crushing them in a mortar with a pestle or in a spice grinder.


Warm up a big bowl for mixing and serving the pasta -- use some of the pasta water to heat the bowl, if you like. Cook the spaghetti until al dente. Quickly lift it from the pot with tongs, let it drain for an instant, then drop it into the warm bowl.


Immediately scatter a cup of the grated cheese and most of the ground pepper on the pasta, and toss in quickly. As you mix, sprinkle over spoonfuls of hot water from the cooking pot to moisten and amalgamate the pasta and condiments -- add more pepper or cheese, or both, to taste. Serve while the spaghetti is very hot.

From “Lidia’s Italy.” Use a very good authentic pecorino, one produced in Lazio, Tuscany or Sardinia. The cheese is at its best when aged only 8 to 10 months.

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