DECEMBER 23 2011

As of today, I have four recipes left that aren't already planned for New Year's or Sunday Sauce. All four of these are pasta. Get ready for a carb-filled next week...

The approaching holiday weekend has me pretty darn worried about getting them all done so I was happy to stay in tonight to make dinner and watch media. One problem... I do NOT want to make fresh pasta. I mean really! So far, I haven't found fresh pasta to be enough better to justify the effort. In fact, I usually feel less happy cause it never seems to have enough heft or bite or something. Just lots of softness... not really satisfying.

So I am going against the recipe and using dried linguine... and I don't care!

I defrost strategically saved cheese broth to be the base of the sauce. Despite not loving the cheese broth before, I feel like it will work fine in this dish and contribute a subtle cheesy flavor. Into the broth goes pecorino romano, red pepper flakes, salt and 4 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper. Which is a hell of a lot of black pepper, by the way.

so much black pepper!

that black cloud on one side? that's the pepper. SO MUCH PEPPER!

This is supposed to simmer until "milky and melding together but not bubbling or boiling". But that doesn't seem to be happening. The cheese won't really meld and, despite my best efforts, I let it bubble a little... NO!!! EVERYTHING IS RUINED!!! Oh wait... probably not.

I can't wait any longer. The pasta is done and I am hungry! So the drained pasta goes into the not-so milky sauce along with a fuck-ton of butter and olive oil (good lord!). Once the pasta gets glossy, we are ready to eat. But, the cheese and black pepper seem to be fusing together into weird, sandy glops that stick to the tongs. Should I be worried about this?

cheese-pepper sandy blobs

I will not worry and instead dish up. With a sprinkle of pecorino romano and MORE black pepper, we are good to go. Holy crap. This is so fucking peppery. And I love it!! The pepper kicks the shit out of my mouth but is quickly soothed by the cheesy (and buttery and olive oil-y sauce), all joining together into a fantastic bite. And then another fantastic bite... and then another. This. Is. Amazing.

so peppery and yet so good.

I have no doubt that this dish will grace our table again. And do I regret not using fresh pasta? No way! I loved that the pasta was firm enough to stand up to the extreme amount of pepper. I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much with soft, wimpy fresh pasta. I will, probably, not include both the 4 tablespoons of butter and 1/4 cup olive oil next time. I think my waist-line will thank me :)

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