Excerpted from Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2017.
The inspiration for this butter comes from the classic Roman pasta dish of spaghetti with Pecorino Romano cheese and black pepper. I put those two ingredients—plus some Parmigiano to mellow the bite of the Pecorino a bit—into a butter, which you can keep in your fridge for weeks.
- Put the peppercorns in a small skillet and toast over medium heat, shaking the pan or stirring constantly to toast the pepper evenly, just until you begin to smell a black pepper perfume, 2 to 3 minutes, depending on your skillet. Pour the pepper into another container and let cool completely.
- Crack and grind the pepper, either in a spice grinder (or a coffee grinder you dedicate to spices) or with a mortar and pestle. It's nice to have uneven consistency, from fine to coarse.
- Fold the pepper and both cheeses into the butter with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula and pile into whatever container you want to serve or save it in. Chill the butter for at least 1 hour to firm it up and to let the flavors marry and permeate the butter.