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Spaghetti with Black Pepper



12 ounces dried spaghetti (chef Pera recommends De Cecco)

¼ cup coarsely ground Tellicherry peppercorns*

2 ounces butter

8 ounces finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


  1. In large Dutch oven, bring 2 quarts salted water to a boil. Note: using as little boiling water as possible will give a thick, starchy liquid that will enhance and bind the sauce.
  2. Once boiling, drop in pasta and give on initial stir after pasta is completely submerged.
  3. While pasta is cooking, set sauté pan over medium heat and add peppercorns. Toast until fragrant, then add butter. Let butter melt and bubble with pepper, adjusting flame so that butter is bubbling right when pasta hits al dente.
  4. When pasta is al dente, remove from water with tongs or pasta form and drop into sauté pan. Ladle another 2 ounces pasta water into sauté pan and stir. Add cheese, stirring vigorously until a silky sauce forms between butter, starch water, and cheese.
  5. Taste for salt and add if necessary. Divide into 2 warmed bowls and serve immediately.

*The Tellicherry peppercorns are a must. If you use grocery-store black pepper there will be a noticeable decline in the puunch. Tellicherry peppercorns can be found at your favorite gourmet cooking store or online.

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