Tag Archives: pecorino romano

Recipe: Spaghetti with Ricotta and Pecorino Romano

3 Mar

Sometimes, you need comfort food. While home today with a very sore throat and not much food in the fridge, I wondered what to make for lunch. It needed to be soft. It needed to make me feel better. It needed to be made from the few items I could scrounge up, and it needed to be prepared quickly. There was only one possibility: Spaghetti with Ricotta and Pecorino Romano, a double dose of sheep-milk heaven — and ready in less than 15 minutes. Perfect.

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Spaghetti with Ricotta and Pecorino Romano

This is a free-form recipe; you can adjust any of the ingredients to suit your tastes. The quantities below are for one hungry pasta lover, but this dish could serve two people if part of a multi-course meal.

  • 113 gr./ ¼ lb. spaghetti (or fettucine, tonnarelli, or other pasta)
  • 1 tbsp. /14 gr. butter, cut into small pieces
  • ¼-1/3  c. grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • fresh, coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
  • 65 gr./ 2 ¼ oz. sheep’s-milk ricotta, crumbled or cut into small pieces (* use the best, freshest ricotta you can find)

Preparation

  1. Start boiling lightly salted water in a generously sized pot. When the water comes to a boil, add the spaghetti and cook just until al dente—often that’s about 1 minute less than indicated on the package.
  2. Meanwhile, place the pieces of butter in an unheated skillet or large bowl next to the pasta pot. Add the Pecorino Romano cheese,  grind black pepper over  top (to your liking), and sprinkle 2 tbsp. cooking water around the sides of the skillet or bowl.
  3. When the spaghetti is done, quickly scoop it out of its cooking water with a pasta ladle and drop it into the skillet or bowl. Don’t shake off all the cooking water; it is an essential ingredient. Stir and swirl the spaghetti vigorously to melt the butter, the Pecorino Romano cheese, and the cooking water into a light sauce. Add more cooking water if the pasta appears too dry.
  4. Check the seasonings (adding salt and more ground  pepper if needed), gently fold in the ricotta, and serve immediately, with additional grated Pecorino Romano on the side.

Recipe: Spaghetti with Chicken Chorizo, Zucchini, and Pine Nuts

5 Aug

Let me count the ways I love this dish:

  1. It is incredibly quick and easy,
  2. It is bold and zesty thanks to the spicy chicken chorizo and the tangy Pecorino Romano,
  3. It isn’t a typical tomato- or cream-based pasta dish,
  4. It contains pine nuts (a heavenly food, but one to be used sparingly because of the cost), and
  5. It is another way to use up some of that bumper crop of zucchini (… if you’ve had your fill of Chocolate Chunk Zucchini Squares).

I made this tonight in about 20 minutes–and yes, I did add the pine nuts, but they all went into hiding at photo time. If you have a bit more chorizo than you need for this recipe, add it to a delicious egg scramble in the morning, maybe with some poblano chilies, onions, and mushrooms. Mmmm.


Spaghetti with Chicken Chorizo, Zucchini, and Pine Nuts
Serves 4

3-4 tbsp. olive oil
2-3 links spicy chicken chorizo, removed from casings (about 2/3-1 lb.)
1 large zucchini, diced into small cubes (about 3 cups total)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 tbsp. pine nuts
1/2 lb. spaghetti
1 tbsp. butter
1 c. Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
salt and freshly ground pepper

Preparation

1. Start preparing spaghetti according to “al dente” directions on the package (check for doneness about a minute before the minimum time listed).
2. While water is coming to a boil, cook chorizo in olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until chorizo is no longer pink, breaking up the chorizo as it cooks. Add zucchini and cook until it has softened and the chorizo is golden. Add garlic during last five minutes of cooking time. If chorizo/zucchini mixture seems dry, add a bit more olive oil.
3. Push chorizo/zucchini mixture to one side of the skillet and sprinkle pine nuts onto the cleared space; cook the pine nuts for a couple minutes or until they turn golden. Incorporate them into the chorizo/zucchini mixture. If the pasta is not yet done, turn off the heat under the chorizo mixture and keep warm.
4. Just before draining the spaghetti, remove about 1/2 c. of the cooking water (or dip a glass measuring cup right into the pasta pot); reserve the water.
5. Drain the spaghetti, toss the drained spaghetti with butter, then pour the chorizo/zucchini mixture on top of the spaghetti and mix in well. If the mixture seems a bit dry, add a small amount of pasta cooking water to moisten.
6. Mix in the Pecorino Romano cheese, add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, and serve immediately.

Recipe: Pasta in Cream Sauce with Pancetta and Pecorino Romano

18 Jun

With three children away from home, and the fourth frequently out and about, my husband and I are adapting to eating dinner by ourselves. It is a necessary exercise; in one more year, we will be empty nesters. We have made some adjustments, but not all recipes for six translate easily into a meal for two, so I am beginning to rethink my approach to dinner. Luckily, this recipe is very adaptable and can easily be scaled down (or back up).

It’s also quick, which makes it perfect for a busy week night. But more importantly, it will satisfy proponents of the two different schools of thought on pasta cream sauces. When this dish is first put on the table, the cream sauce will be fairly thin (as in the photo). In our family, there are staunch supporters of a thinner cream sauce; they say a more liquid consistency allows for maximum “soppage” with a nice piece of crusty bread. Other family members prefer a thicker sauce, which coats the pasta very nicely. Luckily, it’s possible to have it both ways: thinner-sauce aficionados can dig right in; thicker-sauce advocates can nibble on salad or bread and let the sauce cool a bit. Regardless of their sauce philosophies, family members agree on one thing: this is good to the last bite, thick or thin.

Note: Feel free to substitute Parmesan cheese for the Pecorino Romano, and bacon for the pancetta (I used bacon this time, after discovering at the last moment that the pancetta I thought I had in the freezer was a figment of my imagination).

Pasta in Cream Sauce with Pancetta and Pecorino Romano
Serves 2-3

1/2 lb. pasta (I used gemelli)
2 oz. cubed pancetta (in the U.S., Trader Joe’s sells a 4-0z. package*)–or 4 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 small clove garlic, sliced
1 c. half and half, which is half light cream and half milk (or you can use all light cream or heavy cream–the heavier the cream, the thicker the sauce)
small pinch salt
freshly ground pepper
1/2 c. grated Pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmesan)

Preparation

1. Bring an ample amount of water to boil in a medium pot and cook the pasta just until it is al dente.
2. While the water is coming to a boil, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan and cook the pancetta/bacon until crisp; remove the pancetta/bacon, place on a paper towel to drain, and set aside. Leave about 1/2 tbsp. of oil/drippings in the saucepan; discard the rest. Add the sliced garlic to the pan and cook just until golden (you do not want the garlic to burn). Remove the garlic and discard. Turn heat to low and add the half and half (or cream). Grind black pepper over the surface of the sauce. Add a small pinch of salt (be conservative at this stage because you’ll be adding salty bacon and cheese to the dish; you can adjust the seasonings afterward). Keep the sauce warm without letting it boil.
3. When the pasta is done, drain it well, return it to the pot, and immediately toss with the cheese. Add the reserved pancetta/bacon, mix well, and then pour the cream sauce over. Stir well and adjust the seasonings (I usually add more pepper at this stage). The sauce will appear thin at first, but will thicken as it cools.
4. Serve with salad and crusty bread.

*I stock up on packages of cubed pancetta and freeze them. Then, I add the cubed pancetta directly to the hot oil. It cooks (and crisps up) beautifully, and is oh-so convenient.