Using Mark Bittman's recipe from the site I modified it based on some of the suggestions from that page.


• Salt

• 1 ½ cups finely grated pecorino Romano, plus more for dusting completed dish

• 1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

• 25 to 30 black peppercorns


• 1 tablespoon ground black pepper, plus more for finishing the dish

• ¾ pound tonnarelli or other long pasta like linguine or spaghetti

• Good olive oil


1. If using whole peppercorns:

1a. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.

1b. Toast the peppercorns until they are fragrant or are dancing around in the pan.

1c. Place the corns in a mortar and grind with the pestle.

1d. Keep the skillet for later use.

2. While the peppercorns are toasting bring a pot of salted water to the boil.

3. Grate the cheeses into piles -- do not be tempted to skimp on these.

4. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta.

5. Test the pasta frequently.   When it is just before being complete drain some of the cooking water into a large mug of measuring cup, then drain the pasta but not very thoroughly and dump it back into the skillet.

6. Place the skillet over medium heat, add a couple of good dashes of olive oil to the pasta plus a little of the reserved cooking water and toss vigorously.

7. Sprinkle the surface with some of the cheese and some of the pepper.     Toss the pasta to mix in the cheese and pepper.

8. Repeat step 7 over and over until all the cheese is used.    Add a little more of the reserved cooking water if the mixture seems to me drying out.    You want the pasta covering to be creamy but not watery and it should cling to the pasta.

9. Place in a serving bowl and take to the table.