Pasta With Ricotta Cheese and Lemon

Pasta With Ricotta Cheese and Lemon, adapted from Jonathan Gold

16 ounces spaghetti or other dried pasta
1/3 pound fresh, high-quality ricotta (about 1 cup, at room temperature)
Freshly grated black pepper to taste
1/4 cup best available extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste
1 teaspoon minced lemon zest
3 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Handful of chopped fresh parsley

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the spaghetti, and cook until al dente. Time will vary according to pasta.

2. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the water. Put the ricotta into the bottom of a large, warmed bowl and splash a couple of tablespoonfuls of the hot pasta water on top. Grind quite a lot of black pepper into the bowl, and beat into the mixture the oil, salt, zest, and the grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Then toss well with the spaghetti. Continue to toss vigorously to create a creamy, emulsified sauce or leave the ricotta in clumps for a more rustic dish. If you would like a still smoother sauce, stir in more of the reserved water, one splash at a time.

3. Sprinkle with the fresh parsley, stir again, and serve immediately.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

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