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Black And White Pasta

I’m blown away by the NYTimes story about the woman who has written down everything she’s made for dinner for the last fourteen years.I can’t help but imagine what my own dinner journal would look like, had I undertaken such a project.

Fourteen years back, my kids were 5 and 7 years old, in their White Food Phase. During that time, when they rejected all foods of color (spices or other flavoring agents were also prohibited), my journal would have read something like this: Monday: Pasta Alfredo. Tuesday: Macaroni and cheese. Wednesday: Pasta Alfedo. Thursday: Macaroni and cheese. Friday: Pasta Alfredo. And so on.

This trend went on for quite some time, and, had I been patient enough to record it, would have made for pretty dull reading. Eventually, this dreary record would have been livened up by the occasional mention of a vegetable or spice. If the reader had been able to sustain interest into, say, year six of our recorded meals, they’d have noticed the appearance of black pepper in the otherwise white menu.

This recipe took us, for a moment, out of the doldrums, giving the whiter-shade-of-pale pasta a little kick.

Black and White Pasta

1 pound linguini

1 cup freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese (plus extra for the table)

2 tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper

1. Cook the linguini in a large pot of boiling, salted water until al dente (tender), about ten minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

2. Return the pasta to the pot and, over very low heat, stir in the butter, cheese, pepper, and 1/3 cup of cooking liquid. Stir the pasta in the pot, adding a little more water if needed, until the the cheese melts and becomes a creamy sauce.

Serve immediately with extra cheese on the side.

Serves 4.

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