Pici cacio e pepe

Pici cacio e pepe (pici with parmesan, black pepper and golden garlic)

  • serves 2
  • A little effort

Three of the most comforting words you'll read: pasta, butter, cheese. This classic Tuscan recipe for pici cacio e pepe comes from Borough Market's Padella.

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Ingredients

For the sauce

  • sunflower oil 200ml
  • garlic 2 cloves, finely chopped
  • butter 80g, cubed
  • freshly ground black pepper 1 tbsp
  • marjoram or oregano chopped to make 1 tbsp
  • parmesan 25g, finely grated

For the pici dough

  • strong white bread flour 410g
  • olive oil 2 tbsp
  • salt 1½ tsp 

Method

  • Step 1

    To make the pici dough, mix the ingredients with 200ml water until it comes together into a dough. Knead on a worksurface until smooth, about 10 minutes. Use a mixer with a dough hook if you have one.

  • Step 2

    Press into a flat rectangle and cut the dough into 15g strips (weigh them out to check). Cover the strips with a damp tea towel to stop them drying out. On a dry, clean worksurface (stainless steel or wood, you don’t want something too smooth as a little bit of friction helps) start rolling the strips outwards, with both palms of your hands, applying pressure evenly and pushing out, until you have a noodle of the same thickness as a biro. Basically, you’re making wriggly worms. Repeat until all the dough is used. Cook them straight away, or store them spaced apart lengthways on a heavily floured tray, covered with clingfilm, and refrigerate for no more than 24 hours.

  • Step 3

    Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add a pinch of salt. Heat the sunflower oil and garlic in a small frying pan on a low-medium heat. Stir continuously until the garlic starts to change to a golden colour – this will happen rapidly so you need to act quickly. As soon as the garlic turns pale yellow, strain it through a metal sieve into a heatproof bowl. Shake off any excess oil and spread the garlic out on kitchen paper to cool down. Although the temperature will drop quickly, the residual heat will continue cooking the garlic for a while and it will turn golden, but it shouldn’t be bitter.

  • Step 4

    Drop the pici into the salted boiling water and cook for 4-5 minutes. Meanwhile, add the butter, black pepper, marjoram and a splash of the cooking water to a saucepan and cook on a low heat until they melt into each other.

  • Step 5

    Drain and add the pici to the butter pan when ready (try a piece before draining it, it should be al dente but not chewy). Add the parmesan, but don’t stir it. Leave the parmesan to sit and melt from the heat of the pan – this prevents it from becoming chewy cheesy balls. Once the parmesan has melted, stir the pici and sauce together. Check the seasoning, then add the golden garlic, folding it into the pasta. Serve immediately.

Cook's notes: You can keep the garlic-infused oil in the fridge for up to a week and use it in salad dressings or on pasta.

Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 652
  • Fat 29.9g
  • Saturates 13.4g
  • Carbs 78.3g
  • Sugars 0.7g
  • Fibre 3.9g
  • Protein 15.5g
  • Salt 2.3g
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