This classic Roman dish is a simple, but satisfying combination of tender pasta with freshly grated Parmesan cheese (cacio), and cracked black pepper, (pepe). We like this version with its silky, flavorful sauce made from fresh olio nuovo instead of butter. This recipe makes a simple weeknight meal for two when paired with a salad and a glass of Sangiovese.
8 oz. long pasta such as spaghetti, fettucine or pappardelle
3 Tbsp. Olio Nuovo extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling*
2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
1 cup finely grated Parmesan or Pecorino, or a combination of both
Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil, season liberally with salt. Add pasta and cook about 2 minutes less than package directions. The pasta should be almost tender but not quite done. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet with the olio nuovo over medium heat. Add the cracked pepper and cook, stirring until fragrant and toasted, 1 -2 minutes. Add 3/4 cup reserved pasta water to pan and bring to a simmer. Using tongs, add the drained pasta. Stir in the grated cheese, stirring and tossing with tongs until a creamy sauce forms. Add more pasta liquid if pans gets dry. Taste and adjust seasoning. Divide among two bowls, drizzle with extra olio nuovo, then serve.
*If Olio Nuovo is not in season, try an extra virgin olive oil with medium to robust pungency.