1teaspoonfreshly cracked black pepper(coarse grind)
1cupPecorino Romano cheese(freshly grated)
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Salt the water with 2 teaspoons of salt. Cook the pasta until al dente, per the package directions. Before draining, reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
Add some pasta water, starting with ¼ cup, whisking to combine into a sauce. Turn the heat down to low.
While the pasta cooks, heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the butter. When melted, add the black pepper and cook for one minute. This allows the pepper to "bloom" and infuse the butter with its flavor.
Add in the cheese in batches, whisking until melted to create a creamy sauce. Add more pasta water as necessary to help the sauce come together.
Add the hot pasta and toss to combine, adding more pasta water as needed.
Serve with extra cheese and black pepper.
Freshly grated cheese is a must. Start with a wedge of pecorino romano and finely grate it just prior to making the sauce. Freshly grated cheese melts so much better than pre-grated cheese. Using finely grated cheese helps to ensure a smooth sauce.
Reserve some of the starchy pasta water. This water is used to create the sauce and the starch thickens the sauce.
Use freshly cracked black pepper. This has the most robust flavor, and I like to grind the pepper coarsely for added texture.
Cook the pasta in well-salted water. Adding salt to the pasta water is the only way to flavor the pasta itself. Add 2 teaspoons of salt for 8 ounces of pasta.