PICI CACIO E PEPE
This dish is comfort food personified without a shadow of doubt. The cheesy-peppery sauce makes for a truly extravagant mac n' cheese vibe. This super simple Tuscan classic will leave you totally satisfied and you'd be a fool not to give it a go! Feeds 2 very hungry pasta fiends.
For the dough:
- 375g strong white bread flour
- 185 ml water
- A good glug of olive oil
- Pinch of salt
For the sauce:
- 100g grated parmesan plus extra for serving
- 160g unsalted cubed cold butter
- 1 large tablespoon of ground black pepper
- Splash of lemon juice
Throw together the flour, water, olive oil and salt in a large bowl and form a rough dough with your hands.
Turn out onto a clean surface and knead for 5-10 minutes to form a silky smooth dough.
Roll the dough out into a rough rectangle approximately 1.5 - 2cm thick.
Cut the dough in half, wrap each piece in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Once your dough has had a little rest, wake him up by cutting into 3 roughly equal pieces.
Further cut these sections into thin strips about 1cm across.
Make sure to keep the dough you're not currently rolling wrapped up to stop it from drying out!
7. Using both palms roll out the small dough pieces into 25-30cm wiggly worms. Place in a well floured tray and build up in layers using flour between each layer to stop the pasta from sticking together. Continue until all the dough has been rolled out.
8. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Shake off the Pici pieces to remove the excess flour, toss into the water and stir to avoid clumping.
9. Slosh two ladle fulls of the pasta water into a large frying pan on a medium heat and add the butter to melt.
10. Chuck in the pepper and don't be shy if you want to add another few cracks!
11. Drain the Pici and reserve a mug full of the pasta water or liquid gold as we like to call it.
12. Add the Pici to the frying pan, stir and reduce the heat slightly.
13. Top the pasta with the cheese, avoid stirring and allow to melt with the heat from underneath. This will stop the cheese from clumping together.
14. Add some pasta water if required and stir to create a beautiful, creamy fully emulsified sauce.
15. Season to taste and serve that bad boy up (if you can resist munching straight from the pan).