Pici cacio e pepe
Homemade pasta, butter and cheese, spiked with black pepper combine to make the ultimate in comfort food.
For the pici pasta dough
For the sauce
- 325g/11½oz butter
- 4 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
- 200g/7oz Parmesan (or other vegetarian hard cheese), finely grated
- 1 tsp lemon juice
For the pink grapefruit, lamb’s lettuce and salted ricotta
To make the pasta dough, add the flour to a mixing bowl and make a well in the middle. Mix the olive oil, salt and 185ml/6fl oz cold water together and pour into the middle of the flour. Start incorporating the flour into the liquid until a dough starts to form. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and knead until smooth. Shape the dough into a rectangle, wrap in cling film and leave to rest somewhere cool for at least 30 minutes.
To make the pici, cut the dough into 15g/½oz strips (weigh one to check and use as a guide) and keep covered with a damp tea towel.
On a clean, dry work surface start rolling each 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. Repeat until all the dough is used up.
To make the pici cacio e pepe, bring a large saucepan of heavily salted water to the boil. Cook the pici for 5–6 minutes.
Meanwhile, place a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the butter, black pepper and a splash of pici cooking water. Turn down to a low heat and cook until emulsified.
When the pasta is cooked, use tongs to transfer it from the water to the emulsifed butter, reserving the pasta water.
Add the Parmesan and, without stirring, leave to sit and melt from the residual heat of the pan (this prevents it from becoming chewy little cheesy balls).
Put the grapefruit, lamb’s lettuce, red wine vinegar and olive oil in a mixing bowl and toss together. Season with a pinch of salt. Distribute evenly between four plates and sprinkle the salted ricotta on top.
Once the Parmesan has melted into the pici, stir the sauce and pasta together to incorporate. Season with salt if needed and serve immediately alongside the pink grapefruit, and ricotta salad.
If making in advance, store lengthways on a heavily floured tray (to stop them sticking together), covered with cling film and refrigerate for no more than 24 hours.