I have a girl crush on Ina Garten. I want to move in with her, into her gorgeous house in the Hamptons, and cook and drink French wine with her and her friends every night. We’ll pick fresh herbs from the garden, Michael will bring the flowers for our table setting, and Miguel will take the photos for my food blog. Jeffrey is out of town most of the time, so surely she has room for one more, right?
Until that dream comes true, I will have to live out my fantasies making her recipes from my old kitchen in Berkeley.
This recipe of Ina’s is really good. It’s fast and simple, since you can prep the other ingredients in the time it takes the pasta to cook. It’s a really unusual combination, but it works. When she made it on her show, she included cherry tomatoes. While the Food Network website’s recipe doesn’t include the tomatoes, I did because I found a pint of this season’s first tomatoes at the farmers market. I wouldn’t skip them – they add a sweetness that balances nicely with the pepper. I also used penne instead of noodles because I think the tomatoes mix in a little better with shorter pastas.
Pasta with Pecorino and Pepper
Recipe by Ina Garten
1 tablespoon whole black Tellicherry peppercorns
1/2 pound dried pasta – I used penne, but Ina recommends an Italian egg pasta, such as tagliarelle
1 cup freshly grated aged Pecorino cheese (4 ounces), plus extra for serving
2 tablespoons heavy cream – I used half and half
1 tablespoon unsalted butter – I used about half that amount
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved
Place the peppercorns in a mortar and pestle and crush them until you have a mixture of coarse and fine bits. (You can also grind them in a small food mill or coffee grinder.) Set aside.
Fill a large, heavy-bottomed pot with salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package until al dente. While the pasta is cooking, mince the parsley, grate the cheese, and halve the tomatoes.
When the pasta is done cooking, reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water before draining. After you drain the pasta, return it to the pot.
Working quickly, with the heat on very low, toss the pasta with 1/2 cup of the grated Pecorino, the crushed peppercorns, cream, butter, parsley, and 1 teaspoon salt, tossing constantly. If the pasta seems dry, add some of the reserved cooking water. Once everything is combined, turn off the heat, and add the tomatoes and the remaining cheese. Serve immediately with a big bowl of extra grated Pecorino for sprinkling.
And because at Ina’s house, no meal is complete without a glass of wine, I served it with some lovely sauvignon blanc from St. Supery. How bad can that be?