Authentic Pici Cacio e Pepe Recipe
By Silvia Costantino
Here we are! It’s time to warm up the kitchen with a very traditional Italian plate… pasta!
This time, we won’t use a common kind of pasta, like fusilli or spaghetti, but rather, a special one.
This pasta looks like odd spaghetti – soft and large. It’s sold in shops either fresh (in the fridge) or dried. And, of course, we’ll use the fresh kind – the stickier, the better!
I’m talking about Pici, a pasta type coming from the Siena area.
Pici actually resembles – more than the normal spaghetti – the roman bucatini, spaghetti “bucati,” pierced from one end to the other. And in both places, Siena and Rome, one of the oldest, most tasty, and famous way to eat them is with two very simple ingredients: cheese and pepper.
Forget the mac and cheese – today, we go with Pici cacio e pepe! Below, you’ll find everything you need for an authentic cacao e pepi recipe.
-Fresh pici, 2.5 oz. per person
-Pecorino Toscano (as much as you want) – Pecorino should be old and dry; the fresh one does not make the magic here! Oh, and yes, “Cacio” is a regional word for cheese.
-Black pepper (Powdered pepper)
Use a large pot to boil the water. Then, while the water is warming up, grate a lot of Pecorino and put it aside. You may also set the table, and uncork a nice bottle of red wine.
Once the water is boiling, put the pici in the pot. If they’re fresh, it will take 5-7 minutes to be ready. Do not stir it too much, just be careful that they don’t get sticky! One thing about pici: it’s very hard to overcook them.
No more than 7 minutes later, drain the pasta. Do not forget to save a tea cup of boiled water!
Put the pici in a warm fryng pan with no oil, no butter, no milk, and immediately add the Pecorino, while mixing quickly, and add the spare hot water. (Add the water carefully; if it’s too much, it will ruin the dish.)
The result should be a creamy dressing that will perfectly match the strange, soft texture of pici cacio e pepe. Add the pepper powder and mix again.
Put the pasta on plates, and embellish with some pepper. Add one more sprinkle of Pecorino, serve, and eat warm.
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