18 Dec Pici cacio e pepe – Tim Siadatan, Trullo
(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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.