In retrospect, I definitely should have included photos of the pasta-making process. Forgive me, but my hands were covered in flour and eggs. After one failed attempt at making the dough completely by hand, we switched over to the standing mixer to get the dough started, and we completed the last 10 minutes by kneading the dough until it bounced back after pressing it with one finger.
Please don't fret. I see much more pasta-making in my future, and I am sure that you all are very happy about that - especially those who are able to taste test.
After the dough rested for 30 minutes, we rolled and cut the dough into fettucine. The fettucine only took 2 minutes to cook (it is SO easy to over cook fresh pasta because we are so used to boxed, dried pasta that takes 7-10 minutes to cook) and we tossed the fettucine in the pan with the pork sausage, broccoli rabe, a LOT of garlic, and a little sprinkling of Pecorino cheese.
While the recipe I am going to give you was not made with fresh pasta, there is no reason that it can't be next time! This super simple recipe needs to be paired with a pasta with lots of room to soak up all the pepper-y and cheesy goodness.
Here's what you'll need to make Cacio e Pepe (serves 4-6):
- 1 box dried pasta / 1 lb fresh pasta of your choice - I recommend ziti, bucatini or even fettucine
- Olive oil - enough to coat the bottom of a medium sized skillet
- 2-3 teaspoons fresh ground pepper - depends on how much pepper you can handle
- 1 cup pasta water
- 3/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano
- 1/2 cup finely grated Cacio de Roma - this is mild sheep's milk cheese; softer than Pecorino and a little sweeter and little less pungent
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook dried pasta according to box instructions. If using fresh pasta, cook for 1-2 minutes and remove promptly. If you are using fresh pasta, reserve 1 cup pasta water. While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a medium-sized skillet until shimmering. Add the fresh ground pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Be careful, the oil may splatter a little!
Once the pepper is fragrant, ladle in the pasta water (from the pot cooking the pasta or from the water you reserved). Bring to a boil. Transfer pasta to the skillet, and toss until evenly coated with the pepper. Add in most of the Pecorino and all of the Cacio de Roma cheese. Combine until creamy - if the cheese is clumping, add in more pasta water, a little bit at a time. Sprinkle the rest of the Pecorino over the pasta and serve!
If you're interested in learning how to make fresh pasta - or anything else - check out the Institute for Culinary Education in NYC. From basic knife skills to the art of French cooking, you can learn anything and everything in their professional kitchen classroom! My mom and I took the Pasta 101 class, where we were inspired to get the right tools and try it at home. I hope you all are inspired to try something new!