For those of you, who are “cacio e pepe lovers” like me, this is a welcome and wintery variation – especially in the peak of the orange season.
I was a bit sceptical to change this “sacro santo” from Rome, but my brave move was rewarded with this super tasty and tangy pasta. Definitely a keeper in my kitchen!
- 150 g pecorino romano grated
- 400 g spaghetti it is worth to get some good quality spaghetti for this dish
- olive oil enough to cover the bottom of your pan
- 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 2 bio oranges juice and zest
- Cook the spaghetti in enough salted water until they are nearly al dente. As the spaghetti will continue to cook for the 2nd part of the preparation, it is important to remove the spaghetti a moment before they are al dente.
- While the spaghetti are cooking, grate the pecorino and set aside.
- In a small pan, heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom. Add the finely sliced garlic and on a low heat, let the garlic slices infuse the olive oil being careful that they don't burn. Turn off the heat and add the orange juice as well as the orange zest. Once the mixture is no longer very hot, blend the mixture to a homogeneous sauce, which will look like beaten egg yolk. Set the sauce aside.
- When the spaghetti are nearly al dente, remove 2-3 scoops of pasta water and keep this aside, before draining the spaghetti. Immediately put the drained spaghetti back into the pan and under constant stirring and little by little add both some grated pecorino as well as some of the pasta water you have kept aside. Continue to do so until you have a creamy emulsion, which coasts the spaghetti nicely. While the process might seem quite easy, it does require a bit of patience and time: the heat can't be too high as otherwise the pecorino will not emulsify and just flock out. For best results use a large wooden spoon for the constant stirring in circles. It also helps to carefully raise and lower the temperature - to give the pasta water and pecorino a chance to smoothly merge.
- Once you have the perfect cream, carefully and slowly add the orange sauce. Again, constantly stirr until the sauce and the spaghetti emulsify.
- Once you are happy with the consistency, arrange the spaghetti onto a plate and add a good portion of grounded pepper before serving it.