Creamy Cacio e Pepe with Fennel-Celery Salad

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Creamy Cacio e Pepe with Fennel-Celery Salad
  • 4Servings

Ingredients

  • Salt and coarsely ground pepper
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 bulb fennel
  • 6 ribs celery with leafy tops
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup EVOO, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 cup fresh sheeps- or cows-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated pecorino-romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Preparation

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking water.While the pasta is working, trim off the top of the fennel bulb and save 2 tbsp. of chopped fronds. Quarter, core and thinly slice the fennel. Thinly slice the celery on an angle.

In a salad bowl, dress the fennel, celery and parsley with the lemon juice, a good drizzle of EVOO, salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, in the pasta pot, heat 1/4 cup EVOO over medium heat with 2 tsp. pepper for spicy, or 1 tbsp. for very spicy. Stir in the reserved pasta water and the ricotta. Add the pasta, pecorino-romano and parmigiano-reggiano; toss. Top the pasta with the fennel fronds and serve the salad before or after.