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.
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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.