This meal was SO, so divine that I've already made it a couple of times and will continue to rotate it in whenever I'm in the mood for something so comforting and indulgent. For this recipe, no pasta machine is required. Instead, you do all the work by hand, but it's honestly more therapeutic and fun anyway.
I decided to top the cacio e pepe with some lemon zest to give the pasta a burst of summer and to lighten the plate up, and it worked really well. There is no doubt that this dish is worth every bit of effort, and is perfect for a quarantine weekend where you're leisurely making this with a few sips of wine along the way!
The pasta is genuinely the most fun to make. After kneading a dough that uses both all purpose flour and semolina flour, along with olive oil and water, you let is rest and then divide it into 4 pieces. Roll each piece out using a rolling pin on a clean countertop dusted with semolina flour. I used a pizza cutter to create each pici piece, making the task super easy!
If you can, bring some help in - because this part is really fun. Take each piece of pici pasta and roll it up into a wormlike shape, just like you see me doing with my hands. This will stop it from falling apart and will give you that noodle texture once you cook it!
Once you've cooked the pasta in salted boiling water (for 4 minutes), you throw it into a heated pan lined with olive oil and butter and quickly add the cacio e pepe necessities (parmesan, black pepper, reserved pasta water, and salt). The reserved pasta water created this really beautiful, creamy, thick sauce when it melts with the parmesan cheese. Garnish with grated lemon zest and additional parmesan and you are done! This last part is so quick, your dish will be ready for your tabletop in just a few minutes.