Creamy Cacio e Pepe with Fennel-Celery Salad
Three Italian cheeses provide creamy flavor to pasta seasoned with pepper, served with Rach’s Fennel-Celery Salad alongside.
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 1 bulb fennel
- 6 ribs celery with leafy tops
- 1 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus more for drizzling
- 2 teaspoon-1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
- 1 cup fresh sheep’s milk or cow’s milk ricotta cheese
- 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the starchy cooking water.
While the pasta is working, trim off the top of the fennel bulb and save 2 tablespoons of the chopped fronds. Quarter, core and thinly slice the fennel. Thinly slice the celery on an angle.
In a salad bowl, dress the fennel, celery and parsley with the lemon juice, a good drizzle of EVOO, salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, in the pasta pot, heat 1/4 cup EVOO over medium heat with 2 teaspoons pepper for spicy, or 1 tablespoon for very spicy. Stir in the reserved pasta water and the ricotta. Add the pasta, Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese; toss. Top the pasta with the fennel fronds and serve the salad before or after.