In Season: Pecorino di Fossa

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Photo: Victor Prado; Illustrations by John Burgoyne.

The exceptionally assertive ewe’s-milk cheese from Emilia-Romagna known as Pecorino di Fossa is traditionally made in August, buried like pirate’s booty in straw-lined caves or fosse (actually giant pits or ditches), and ceremoniously dug up on November 25, the feast day of St. Catherine of Alexandria. You, however, need barely lift a finger, never mind a pick and shovel, as this rustic formaggio is available now at Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria as well as at DiPalo Fine Foods. Pecorino aficionados nibble it with salumi or with fruit and honey, but it also makes a good substitute for Pecorino Romano in this recipe for spaghetti cacio e pepe.

Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe

Salt
1 3/4 cups freshly grated Pecorino di Fossa, plus more for serving
1 pound spaghetti
1 1/4 tbs. coarsely ground black pepper

(1) Finely grate the cheese, and set aside. Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, and quickly drain the pasta. (2) Return the spaghetti to the pot, and pour in about half the reserved cooking liquid, adding more if the pasta seems too dry. (3) Add the cheese and pepper, and stir vigorously. Serve immediately with additional grated cheese. Serves 4 to 6.

*This article originally appeared in the December 10, 2012 issue of New York Magazine.