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Year of the Noodle:  Week 51

I went on a pantry cleaning spree yesterday.

By pantry I of course mean the bookshelf we use to store our dry goods (our apartment has no pantry to speak of.)  We have loads of stuff shoved into this bookcase.

There were bags of bulk items bursting at the seams.  Cereal bags tipped over and spilling.  Cans upon cans of beans shoved behind jars of nuts shoved behind containers of dried fruit.  And then there was the pasta.

Oh, the pasta.

1/8th of a bag of elbow macaroni.  1/2 box of no cook lasagna noodles.  Two separate boxes of linguini – spinach and regular – both spilling out from either end.  A full bag of medium sized shells (accidentally purchased by John when I sent him to the market for jumbo shells.)

What a mess.  Most of the pasta remnants didn’t survive.  (What does one make with 1/8th package of macaroni?)  But I was insistent that the full bag of shells would not go to waste.

So while this recipe calls for spaghetti noodles, but I subbed in shells.  It kinda feels like a grown up shells and cheese dish that way.  And I didn’t have to purchase yet another box of spaghetti.

I have just one more noodle dish to go.  Then I refuse to buy pasta for at least a month.  The pantry and I both need a break.

Ingredients

6 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, 4 ounces finely grated (about 2 cups) and 2 ounces coarsely grated (about 1 cup)
1 pound shell pasta
Table salt
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons finely ground black pepper

Directions

Place finely grated Pecorino in medium bowl. Set colander in large bowl.

Bring 2 quarts water to boil in large Dutch oven. Add pasta and 1½ teaspoons salt; cook, stirring frequently, until al dente. Drain pasta into colander set in bowl, reserving cooking water. Pour 1½ cups cooking water into liquid measuring cup and discard remainder; return pasta to now-empty bowl.

Slowly whisk 1 cup reserved pasta cooking water into finely grated Pecorino until smooth. Whisk in cream, oil, and black pepper. Gradually pour cheese mixture over pasta, tossing to coat. Let pasta rest 1 to 2 minutes, tossing frequently, adjusting consistency with remaining ½ cup reserved pasta water. Serve, passing coarsely grated Pecorino separately.

Source:  America’s Test Kitchen

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