Ah, the creamy interplay between the cheese and the crushed black pepper. This is one of my favorite Roman dishes. A monument to simplicity.
I struggled to make a vegan version of this dish, as the lack of dairy tended to make it a bit dry. You need that creaminess to soften the bite of the black pepper. I kept at it and finally found the key to create the creamy texture, vegan cream cheese.
Note: One additional benefit of vegan dishes is that they are non dairy, as such, they are also good for anyone who is lactose intolerant.
1/2 lb Spaghetti
2 Tbsp Earth Balance
2 Tbsp Tofutti Cream Cheese
1 tsp Go Veggie Parmesan Cheese
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp - 1 Tbsp freshly ground or crushed Black Pepper. To taste.
Pinch of Sugar, I add this as some non dairy products can be slightly bitter. I find this creates a more dairy like richness.
Bring water up to a boil, add some sea salt to the water and then add the spaghetti. While the spaghetti is cooking, combine all sauce ingredients into your serving bowl.
When pasta is just al dente, dunk a heat proof measuring cup, into the boiling water and remove about 1/4- 1/2 cup of pasta water and set aside, then drain pasta.
Add the pasta back into the still hot cooking pot, add the sauce ingredients, mix and stir in the reserved pasta water a bit at a time until creamy. Finish with more parmesan cheese and serve.