The pasta with mint and pecorino cheese that you see in the photo was a discovery as pleasant as it was unexpected. I found it unexpectedly in front of me, cooked by a cousin from Salerno: and what can I tell you?! I found it extraordinary.
Pasta sauces with mint AND pecorino cheese Obviously I have known them and I have also eaten them: for example, when I was very young in Marche, my mother’s region of origin. However, this traditional Campanian pasta clearly impressed me. Both for the simple handling of the recipe and for the elegance of the flavors that are derived from it. Flavors that played well at holding my hand and transporting me to the sunny Calabrian countryside where I spent my summers as a child.
This personal reference to summer, however, should not lead us to think that we are talking about a typically summer pasta.
I imagine that the combination of the two ingredients is nothing new to anyone: it is a marriage that has deep roots in traditional Italian cuisine. Where mint and pecorino can create true explosions of flavors, with the freshness of mint perfectly balancing the complex and rich flavor of pecorino.
In general, it is undoubtedly a combination that adapts well to both hot and cold dishes. However, here, in this Mint Pecorino Pasta, the pecorino should intimately embrace and envelop every millimeter of pasta. Therefore, it should not be seasoned with pecorino cheese and mint, but with a flavored pecorino cheese cream. That cream must remain uniform while eating, so it is essential that the dish arrives at the table very hot.
The result is a very appetizing pasta: rich in delicate contrasts, but also harmonious in the embrace between the warmth of pecorino cheese and the fresh aromas of mint. Which also contributes a lot onion. Which in turn is enhanced by the particular cut: thin rings.
- 360 g dry pasta, such as macaroni, tortiglioni or mezze sleeves
- 1 onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 90-110 g non-spicy grated pecorino cheese
- 10-12 mint leaves (NOT mint)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Remember 5 tablespoons of oil in a pan and let it cook. onion cut into very thin rings and the slicegarlic slightly flattened. Leave on very low heat and covered for 10 minutes. Then add a piece of chili and the leaves mint Chop, mix gently (try not to break the onion rings) and cook for 2 more minutes. Now turn off the heat and let the sauce cool for about ten minutes. Do not overdo it with the chilli: it serves to give liveliness to the pasta, which should not become too spicy.
- While the sauce is cooling (it should be warm when you add the cheese!), submerge the pasta in boiling water. Just before draining, in a separate bowl, dissolve the pecorino with 7-8 tablespoons of the pasta cooking water. Don’t pour the boiling water directly over the pecorino, instead pour the water into the cold bowl and then add the pecorino a little at a time. You must turn it into a fluid cream (but not liquid) without letting it cool.
- Drain the pasta al dente. Distribute half of the pecorino cream in the saucepan, pour the pasta on top and stir immediately by turning the heat back on (kept to a minimum), stirring and adding the rest of the pecorino cream little by little.
- Turn off the heat and, finally, season with chopped parsley. This Mint Pecorino Pasta should be served hot, leaving extra grated pecorino on the table for guests to use.
lyrics by Valter Cirillo
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