Asparagus & Pecorino Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette and Linguine Cacio e Pepe

Molto Gusto! Mario Batali has made a career teaching us how to cook Italian food (and how to rock the orange Crocs … not recommended for amateurs).

Mario Batali‘s newest book, Molto Gusto: Easy Italian Cooking delivers just what it promises: easy, breezy recipes for antipasti, salads, pizzas and pastas. The recipes are listed seasonally within each category, a nice touch.

The book is filled with delightful dishes, including this beautiful (and simple) Asparagus & Pecorino Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette and Linguine Cacio e Pepe (a traditional Italian dish of pasta with Pecorino Romano cheese and black pepper). They cook up quickly with a minimum of fuss.

I added some simply roasted shrimp (toss with olive oil, garlic salt and pepper and roasted on a sheet pan in a 425F oven for 8 minutes until pink), a cool glass of Sauvignon Blanc, and you’ve got a yummy summer meal on the fly.

Asparagus & Pecorino Salad (pictured above, adapted from Mario Batali’s “Molto Gusto: Easy Italian Cooking”)
Serves 6
Prep time: 10 minutes

Lemon Vinaigrette:

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest

Whisk together ingredients and set aside.

For Salad:

  • 1 pound asparagus, tough bottom ends snapped off
  • 2 to 3 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, shaved
  • Kosher salt and coarsely ground fresh pepper

Using a mandoline or other vegetable slicer, or a vegetable peeler, thinly shave the asparagus, making long diagonal shavings. Transfer to a medium bowl.

Add Pecorino and the vinaigrette; season lightly with salt and pepper. Toss gently and serve.

Linguine Cacio e Pepe
Serves 6

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

  • Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup coarsely ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons each extra-virgin olive oil and unsalted butter
  • 1 pound dried linguine
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra for serving
  • ¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot and add 3 tablespoons of kosher salt.

Meanwhile, set another large pot over medium heat, add pepper, and toast, stirring, until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add oil and butter and stir until butter has melted. Remove from heat.

Drop pasta into boiling water and cook until just al dente. Drain, reserving ½ cup of pasta cooking water.

Add ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water to the oil and butter mixture, then add the pasta and stir and toss over medium heat until the pasta is well coated. Stir in the cheeses (thin with a little more pasta water if needed) and serve immediately, with additional Parmesan on the side.

Shopping List

1 large lemon
1 pound asparagus

¼ pound Pecorino Romano cheese
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Extra-virgin olive oil
Unsalted butter
1 pound dried linguine
Coarsely ground black pepper
Kosher salt

  Who We Are       NFP Support       Magazine       Programs       Donate