225g long pasta
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Pecorino Romano
1 to 1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or butter)
Tonnarelli is the traditional noodle, but bucatini and very thick spaghetti are suitable substitutes and a bit easier to find.
Grate the cheese and grind the pepper.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Once it starts to boil, add a generous quantity of sea salt – five or six teaspoons is a good amount.
Add the pasta to the boiling water.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil (or butter) in a separate pan, one that’s large enough to eventually hold all of the ingredients, including the pasta.
Pour the pepper in the hot oil and stir around for about a minute or two.
When the pasta is about is a bit firmer than al dente (about two to three minutes before it would normally reach al dente”), scoop out one to 1 1/2 cups of the pasta water (the extra 1/2 cup is for fine tuning, if necessary).
Strain the pasta and pour one cup of the hot pasta water into the pan with the oil and pepper.
It should start boiling, or at least simmering, fairly quickly.
Pour in the pasta.
Stir around and add an additional 1/2 cup of pasta water (a little more if it seems too dry.
Simmer the pasta for a total of about 2 minutes and then remove from heat.
In the same pan, while still hot, dump in the grated Pecorino Romano, stir vigorously until you’ve achieved a creamy consistency.
Divide and serve.