Paccheri Pasta with Pecorino-Pepper Sauce with Broccolini

Readers familiar cacio e pepe, a pillar of Roman primi piatti, will note the nod to it here. Since there is no improving on perfect, rather than offering my interpretation, I rolled those flavors into something different. The result is punchy pecorino twirled with pepper, garlic, and bits of broccolini that mingle best with strands of thin pasta, such as tajarin. If ever there was luxury in simplicity, it would be at the bottom of a bowl of this.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 20 min
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

12 ounces paccheri pasta

Kosher salt 

8 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 bunch broccolini (about 8 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch pieces  

1 1/3 cups hot, starchy pasta water  

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper  

2 garlic cloves, minced  

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Chop the pecorino into 1-inch pieces (if you have a full-size, high-speed blender) or grate it (if you have a regular blender). Place the cheese in the blender.  
  3. Heat the butter and oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the broccolini and cook for 3 minutes, until it just begins to wilt, stirring occasionally.  
  4. Meanwhile, puree the cheese and the pasta water in the blender until homogeneous. Be sure the lid is on tight, as pureeing hot liquids can be dangerous.  
  5. Add the pepper and garlic to the broccolini and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the aroma of pepper and garlic fills the air.  
  6. Pour the pecorino-pasta water puree into the broccolini and stir to combine, then immediately toss the mixture well with pasta, making sure every noodle is coated in sauce. Serve immediately.  
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