While it may still be a while until we can return to our favourite restaurants (sob), its been great to see how many of them have been sharing recipes with their online communities to keep up spirits and allow us to re-create a little bit of dining out magic at home.
One of those restaurants has been Padella, undoubtedly London's most famous pasta restaurant which when it was open commanded hour long queues daily, people willing to wait to snag a table and enjoy their fresh pasta dishes. Pici, thick worm like pasta strands, cacio e Pepe, that classic emulsion of pepper, butter, parmesan and pasta water, is their most well known and insta famous dish and I was more than delighted that they not only shared the recipe on their Instagram page but that their owner did a super fun cook-along that made it even less intimidating to me to attempt my first full blown homemade pasta!
And boy was the end result amazing, al dente pasta that couldn't be easier and more fun to make (the rolling out especially), and the most silky and peppery sauce that was just heavenly! I have had this dish at Padella before and honestly this was pretty close to exactly that fabulous dinner that now feels a life time ago.
Of course nothing quite recreates the magic of eating at a restaurant, its not only about the food served but the atmosphere, the company, the service and of course the fact that you don't have to do the washing up (just me or is everyone's life just a constant cycle of cleaning, cooking, washing, cleaning, cooking, washing right now?!) but for now it was wonderful to recreate this amazing dish at home and for a hot second my balcony was my own little restaurant and I gave the chef, aka me, my compliments for this rather impressive tasting and looking plate of pasta that couldn't be easier to make!
Thanks Padella for making my Friday, I will be back through your doors as a diner in no time, I promise.
- 375g strong white bread flour
- 180ml water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Pinch fine sea salt
- Add the flour to a mixing bowl & make a well in the middle.
- Mix together the water, olive oil, salt & pour into the well.
- Start incorporating the flour into the water olive oil salt mixture until a dough starts to form.
- Once it forms, take the dough out, transfer to a clean table and start kneading it until it becomes smooth.
- With a rolling pin, shape it into a rectangle about 2cm thick, wrap in cling film.
- Leave to rest for at least 30 mins.
- Cut the dough into 15g strips and keep covered with a damp tea towel.
- On a dry clean work surface (ideally with a slight texture like a wooden chopping board) start rolling the 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.
- Cook straight away, or, if making in advance, store lengthways on a heavily floured tray covered with cling film & refrigerate for no more than 24 hours.
PICI CACIO E PEPE
- 1 batch of pici dough
- 160g unsalted butter
- 100g parmesan, finely grated
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- In a large saucepan, bring water up to the boil and season with salt to resemble mild sea water.
- Drop the pici in water and cook for 5-6 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add the butter, black pepper, lemon juice & a couple of ladle fulls of the pici water to a saucepan on a medium heat and then turn down to a low heat until they emulsify (melt into each other).
- When the pici is cooked, remove it from the water and add to the saucepan with the butter and pepper.
- Keep the pasta water.
- Add the parmesan but do not stir.
- Leave the parmesan to sit & melt from the residual heat of the pan - this prevents it from becoming chewy little cheesy balls.
- Once the parmesan has melted, stir the pici and sauce together to incorporate.
- Season with salt and serve immediately.