Adapted from Milk Street
- 1 1/2 CUPS WATER
- 3 OUNCES PANCETTA, FINELY CHOPPED
- 2 TEASPOONS CORNSTARCH
- 6 OUNCES PECORINO ROMANO CHEESE, FINELY GRATED (3 CUPS), PLUS EXTRA TO SERVE
- 12 OUNCES LINGUINI OR SPAGHETTI
- 2 TABLESPOONS KOSHER SALT
- 2 TEASPOONS FRESHLY CRACKED BLACK PEPPER
- Boil pasta in 4 quarts salted, boiling water. Cook until al dente. Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water and then drain pasta.
- Return the pasta to the pot and let cool for about 1 minute.
- In a small bowl, mix water and cornstarch until smooth. Set aside.
- Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and cook until crisp, about 5 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a paper towel–lined plate; removing all but 2 tablespoons of the fat.
- Add the water/cornstarch mixture and pecorino to the pan; mix well.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, whisking constantly, until the cheese melts and the mixture comes to a gentle simmer and thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Pour the pecorino mixture over the pasta and toss with tongs until combined, then add the pepper.
- Allow to stand, tossing two or three times, until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 3 minutes.
- If too thick, add reserved pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency.