While our friends are savouring the pasta perfection in the land of Italy, we couldn't resist teleporting ourselves there too! So, we recreated a mouthwatering classic: Pici Cacio e Pepe, but with a Roomie twist!
We are obsessed with the doughy texture from pici. It was so much fun making these wobbly noodles and a rich yet light sauce packed with a salty, tangy punch.
Traditional cacio e pepe uses Pecorino cheese (no lemon and no garlic and no butter) in the sauce. We use Parmesan cheese because Pecorino isn’t readily available and we always have Parmesan in the fridge. So you can choose to keep it traditional or try the Roomie way - we promise it's delicious!
200 g (1 2/3 cup) white flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp (15g) extra virgin olive oil
95 g warm water
plain white flour for dusting
CACIO E PEPE SAUCE:
60 g (1 cup) finely Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 tsp lemon juice
40 g (3 tbsp) unsalted butter
160 ml (2/3 cup) pasta water
2 cloves of crushed garlic
For the pici dough:
1. Combine the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Add the oil and water and mix to form a shaggy dough. Tip the contents of the bowl out onto a clean work surface and knead for 6 to 10 minutes until smooth and soft but not sticky or dry.
2. Place into a resealable sandwich bag and chill for at least 1 hour.
3. Once the dough has rested, remove from the bag and place onto a completely clean, dry work surface. It’s super important that there is no flour on the work surface or else it will be really hard to roll out the pici!
4. Pat the dough out into a rectangle about 12 x 20 cm. Use a bench scraper or a butter knife to cut strips of dough which are roughly 6mm wide x 12cm long.
5. Use your hands, pressing lightly on a strip of dough to roll out into a long worm shape. Start with both hands at the centre of the strip and work outwards whilst rolling back and forth and applying light pressure. Roll until the worm is about 3 to 4mm thick.
6. Dust with a light coating of plain white flour. Ensure there is no flour residue on your hands when you pick up the dough and continue to roll out the remaining strips of dough, placing them aside.
7. Once you've made enough worms of dough, dust these with some more flour. Continue making worms (and forming nests, as needed) until you’ve shaped all the dough.
Set aside for up to 20 minutes. If you let these sit for longer you risk them drying out and starting to clump together.
Start preparing your sauce:
1. Grate your Parmesan cheese and set that aside. Bash the peppercorns in a pestle and mortar (or your pepper shaker is fine) and set those aside too. Have all other ingredients measured and on hand (except the pasta water as that isn’t ready yet).
2. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to the boil on the stove.
3. Grab a large frying pan and add crushed garlic. Let it sweat for 30 seconds then add the lemon juice, butter and black pepper. Place over a medium heat on the stove.
4. Gently unravel the pici and drop into the boiling pot of water – keep the heat here on max until the water comes back to a simmer and set a timer for 5 minutes. Stir gently and occasionally to make sure they don't stick together.
5. Once the pici have been cooking for about 3 minutes, scoop out 160ml (2/3 cup) of that starchy pasta water from the pot they're cooking in. Pour this into the frying pan of butter and turn the heat on the pan down to medium low.
6. Once the 5 minutes of cooking time is up, use tongs to lift the pici into the frying pan of the pasta water-butter mixture. Sprinkle the grated cheese in an even layer over all of the pasta in the pan.
7. Now this is the key moment – you can't stir this yet!! You have to leave this to cook over a medium-low heat for a couple of minutes. You want the cheese to start melting before you stir it together otherwise it will clump. So, leave it to cook and you'll notice that the cheese starts to melt at the edges first and gradually melts more and more towards the centre of the pan.
8. Once the cheese in the centre is just starting to turn translucent/melty, you can toss the mixture together (we like to use tongs for this).
9. Let it bubble for 1 to 2 minutes more, stirring occasionally, to let the sauce thicken up a bit.
10. Once the sauce looks thickened but still kind of runny, remove from the heat and divide between two bowls. Serve ASAP! Enjoy!
We added crispy Pancetta on top for extra flavour!
Cheers to recreating the flavours of Italy right in our own kitchens. We can't wait to see how you teleport your taste buds to Italy with this easy yet delicious recipe! Don't forget to tag us.