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Cacio e Jala-Pepe

Cacio e Jala-Pepe


  • 1 bulb garlic, top third cut off

  • Salt and pepper

  • 6 large jalapeno peppers

  • 6 tablespoons salted butter

  • 1 pound bucatini or spaghetti

  • 1 ½ tablespoons coarse black pepper

  • 2 cups finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese or half/half Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and Pecorino


Serves: 4

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place the bulb of garlic, in a small oven-proof dish or on a sheet of foil. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. If in a dish, cover with foil. If on a sheet of foil, wrap into a little pouch. Place in oven and roast until soft and squishy, about 45 minutes to an hour. Remove from oven, cool, then squeeze the roasted cloves from the skin and use a knife to paste the garlic. Set aside until ready to use.

While the garlic is roasting, char the jalapeños under a broiler or over an open flame, until blistered. Place in a heatproof bowl, cover and poke a couple holes to vent. When the peppers are cool enough to handle and the skin starts to separate, about 5-10 minutes, peel the peppers and remove the stem and seeds. If you like spice, keep the seeds and ribs of two peppers. Finely chop the peeled and stemmed peppers and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt the water, add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Reserve 1 cup starchy cooking water; drain.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the roasted garlic to the pan, along with the chopped jalapenos and stir for a minute. Add the reserved pasta water and bring to a bubble. Add a mug of starchy pasta water to the pan, then the pasta and a heavy sprinkle of cheese; remove from the heat. Toss, adding more cheese a few handfuls at a time, until a sauce forms and coats the pasta evenly. Serve in shallow bowls. © 2019 Ray Marks Co. LLC. All rights reserved.