Heat the olive oil and 1 tsp [5 ml] coarsely ground black pepper in a 10 inch [25 cm] pan over medium-low heat until the oil shimmers, the peppercorns are fragrant and just starting to sizzle. Add the butter and use a spatula to move and melt it into the oil. Add the dried spaghetti pasta and 2 cups [500 ml] water, making sure the water completely covers the pasta. Crank up the heat to high and start a timer for 10 minutes (if you’re not using Barilla’s Pronto pasta, refer to the manufacturer’s cooking instructions). Let the pasta boil, moving it around from time to time using a spatula so it cooks evenly. Two minutes before the end of the cooking time, lower the heat to medium and keep an eye on the quantity of water leftover in the pan. You don’t want it to evaporate completely, so add up to ¼ cup [60 ml] water if the pan seems dry, tossing the pasta so the additional water distributes evenly and heats up as quickly as possible.
When the cooking time is done, lower the heat to the minimum, and add the grated cheese. Quickly toss and turn the pasta so the cheese melts into the sauce and coats the spaghetti strands. Remove from the heat and add a generous pinch or two of freshly ground black pepper. Divide between two warm serving bowls and serve immediately, sprinkled with additional cheese, black pepper, if desired.
Recipe Credit: Marie Asselin
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