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  • Megan

cookbook challenge: cacio e pepe featuring hetty mckinnon's hand-pulled pasta

Updated: May 27, 2023

In this pasta:

- bread flour (all-purpose works too)

- salt

- water

- butter

- pepper

- parmesan

For years I've been wanting to attempt homemade pasta—what stopped me was my lack of equipment. Then I learned there's such a thing as hand-pulled pasta from cookbook author Hetty McKinnon. Rejoice! I could make this, for I do have hands!

Normally handmade pasta would be given the status of a special dinner, where wine is poured and candles are lit and Dickinson is binged. But I wanted to film this cookbook challenge during daylight hours, which are blessedly few this time of year. So I made the pasta at midday and we had ourselves an Italian lunch, complete with red wine (eating handmade cacio e pepe with anything but wine seems blasphemous). We called it a holiday lunch because we were halfway between Christmas and New Year's and we felt we needed to justify such decadence so early in the day. But we could probably all stand to feed ourselves pasta and wine at noon, without occasion, whether or not we live in a country that condones this behavior.

Cacio e Pepe w/ Hetty's Hand-Pulled Noodles

serves two

  1. Whisk together 225 grams flour and 1 tsp sea salt in a large bowl. Use chopsticks to gradually stir in 1/2 cup room-temperature water until a rough dough forms. Then use your hands to work the dough into a ball.

  2. On a smooth surface, knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes. Then cover the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for 45 minutes.

  3. Wake up the dough and knead it for another 2 or 3 minutes, then cover and let rest for another 20 minutes.

  4. Divide the dough ball in half. Keep one half covered while you roll out the other on a lightly floured surface. You're going for a 9 x 12-inch rectangle (mine was far from perfect). The key to this step is having the patience to step away from the dough when it starts to spring back against your rolling attempts. Just give it a few minutes to relax. Much like a human, it'll be easier to work with after a short time-out.

  5. Once you've reached the approximate dimensions, cut the dough into strips about 1/2-inch wide. Then pick up each noodle and gently stretch it, starting from the middle and sliding your fingers toward the ends. You'll feel like a sorcerer! Lay the pulled noodles onto a floured sheet pan to hang out while you roll and cut the other half of the dough.

  6. Bring a pot of water to a boil and throw in a generous hit of salt. Add the noodles in two or three batches, cooking each batch for a few minutes until the noodles float to the surface.

  7. As the noodles cook, heat a few tablespoons of butter in another large pot. When the butter is melted, stir in a teaspoon of freshly ground pepper. Prepare thyself for one helluva fragrance.

  8. Transfer the cooked noodles into the peppered butter (but don't throw out your pasta water yet!). Keep the butter pot over low heat while you cook up the next batch(es) of noodles. Once all the noodles are in the butter pot, toss in about 2 ounces of grated parmesan or pecorino cheese. Ladle small scoops of the pasta-cooking water over the cheesy noodles and toss to create a glossy sauce.

  9. Drop your noodles in a serving bowl, pour a small glass of wine, and lunch in the midday sunlight.

1 commento

31 gen 2022

AMAZING!! 😍. . the pasta, and the cook!!

Mi piace
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