I love minimalist pasta sauces.
Many classics in Italian cuisine, especially when it comes to pasta, depend on the excellence of one’s ingredients. Dishes such as aglio e olio, cacio e pepe and fettucine carbonara to name but three fully depend on having top-quality ingredients. The less you have, the greater the sum of all a dish must be.
Spaghetti with butter, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and black pepper
Not quite cacio e pepe, but something very close to it.
You only see parsley in there because a picture without it becomes monochromatic. Also, this blog has a white frame/background, so I needed something to provide contrast.
For this dish to work, you need the best ingredients you can afford — great butter; real, freshly grated Parmesan cheese (and not from a can!); and freshly milled black pepper. Nothing else will do, and really, your taste buds deserve the best, don’t they?
Have your pasta cooked according to package directions, and drained, while reserving about 1/4 cup pasta cooking water. Melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When the butter is foaming but not yet at the point where it’s started to turn golden brown, add the pasta to the pan. Toss quickly, to ensure that the spaghetti strands are coated with the butter. If the pasta seems too dry, you may want to add a few tablespoons reserved pasta cooking water just to keep things moist. Generously grind some black pepper over the pasta. Stir in a couple tablespoons of cheese. Mix well. Taste for salt and pepper; you shouldn’t need much. Transfer pasta to individual serving bowls, passing cheese at the table for each diner to top according to his or her own taste. Serve immediately.
Time: About 30 minutes, which includes time spent grating the cheese. This is one of those dishes that is truly delicious and divine, for not very much effort. It’s a classic in every sense of the word.