Pici cacio e pepe – Tim Siadatan, Trullo

SERVES
4
TAKES
20 minutes
(with ready-made pasta)

Cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper) is a classic dish from Rome and is one of their most popular dishes when it goes on the menu.

Romans use pecorino but they prefer high-quality, aged parmesan because it gives the dish more depth of flavour. But if you want to keep it traditional, swap the cheese in the ingredients list below.

RECIPE

1 batch of pici pasta, fresh (or pici pasta dough*, see recipe below)
160 g unsalted butter
100 g parmesan, finely grated
4 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp lemon juice

1

In a large saucepan, bring water up to the boil and season with salt. Drop the pici in water and cook for 5–6 min.

2

Meanwhile, add the butter, black pepper and a splash of water to a saucepan on a medium heat and then turn down to a low heat until they emulsify (melt into each other).

3

When the pici is cooked, remove it from the water and add to the saucepan with the butter and pepper. Keep the pasta water.

Add the parmesan – but do not stir. Leave the parmesan to sit and melt from the residual heat of the pan – this prevents it from becoming chewy little cheesy balls.

4

Once the parmesan has melted, stir the pici and sauce together to incorporate. Season with salt and serve immediately.

375 g white bread flour
180 ml water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 pinch fine sea salt

*PICI PASTA DOUGH

1

Add the flour to a mixing bowl and make a well in the middle. Mix together the water, olive oil and salt and pour into the well. Start incorporating the flour into the water/olive oil/salt mixture until a dough starts to form.

2

Once it forms, take the dough out, transfer to a clean table and start kneading it, until it becomes smooth.

With a rolling pin, shape it into a rectangle about 2 cm thick, wrap in cling film and leave to rest for at least 30 min somewhere cool.

3

To make the pici, cut the dough into 15 g strips (weigh one to check and use as a guide), and keep covered with a damp tea towel.

On a dry, clean work surface – stainless steel or wood, you don’t want something too smooth as a little bit of friction helps – start rolling the strip outwards with both palms of your hands, applying pressure evenly and pushing out, until you have a noodle the same thickness as a biro. Basically, you’re making wriggly worms. Repeat until all the dough is used up.

4

Cook straight away, or if making in advance, store lengthways on a heavily floured tray (they stick together) covered with cling film and refrigerate for no more than 24h.

Recipe from Trullo
by Tim Siadatan
£25, Square Peg