Leek Top Cacio e Pepe
1 leek top, split in half (see here) and cut into 6-inch lengths
6 ounces bucatini or spaghetti
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 C. grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Fill a large pot with salted water (use 2 or 3 three-finger pinches of salt â€“ it should taste like the sea) and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, stack a couple of leek lengths on top of one another and make narrow cuts down the length of them, like youâ€™re turning them into linguini. Once you get the hang of this, you can make your stack a little higher. Donâ€™t stress out about it too much; they wonâ€™t all look perfect â€“ itâ€™s fine. When the water is boiling, add the pasta and give it a stir. Take note of the instructions on the package; youâ€™ll be subtracting 2 minutes from the cooking time. One minute before the pasta is done (so 3 minutes before the time on the package), add the shredded leek tops. Drain the pasta and leek tops, reserving 1 C. of the cooking water. Return the empty pot to the same burner and turn the heat to medium. Add the olive oil and pepper to the pot; let it sit until it smells fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the drained pasta and leek tops to the pot, and using tongs, toss everything around to coat. Add Â¼ C. of the reserved pasta water to the pot, sprinkle on about half of the cheese (youâ€™ll end up with cheese clumps if you dump it all in one pile), and, using the tongs, toss to coat and melt the cheese. Repeat this step with another Â¼ C. pasta water and the rest of the cheese. You should now have a silky sauce coating all of the pasta and leek tops (the tops might require a little more tong action to distribute them evenly). If not, add a little more pasta water and toss everything again, then serve and eat immediately.