Shepherd's Pasta: Pasta alla Pecoraio
- 3 ounces ricotta salata, grated
- 3 ounces aged pecorino, grated
- 6 ounces whole-milk ricotta
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons toasted fennel seeds
- 1 pound bucatini
- Fine sea salt
- 2/3 cup fresh bread crumbs
- Hot pepper oil, recipe follows
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt.
In a medium bowl, combine the cheeses with the red pepper flakes, black pepper, and the fennel seeds, mixing well.
Cook the pasta in the water according to the package directions, until tender yet al dente. Drain and reserve 1 cup of cooking water. Return the pasta to the dry pot and beat a few tablespoons of the hot water into the cheese mixture to thin it. Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss over high heat 1 minute. Season with salt, if necessary.
Serve sprinkled with bread crumbs and drizzled with hot pepper oil.
Red Pepper Oil:
Place the oil, jalapenos, and pepper flakes in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Heat the mixture registers 175 degrees F, on a deep-fry thermometer, then remove from heat and allow to cool. Pour into a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand overnight and strain out solids. Transfer to a jar and cover with a lid. This oil will last 3 weeks unrefrigerated in a cool, dark place.
Yield: approximately 1 1/2 cups