Gnocchi alla Cacio e Pepe
Makes four appetizer portions or two entrée portions
- Stand mixer with paddle attachment
- Rolling pin
- Gnocchi board (fork may also be used)
- Pizza cutter
- Cutting board
- Chef knife
- Large pot
- Slotted spoon or cooking spider
Making Gnocchi with Semolina Dough
- 0.5 cup semolina flour
- 0.5 cup 00 flour
- 0.5 cup water (boiling)
1. Combine the two flours in the stand mixer and mix until combined. Turn mixer off.
2. Place .5 cup water into a pot and bring to a boil then immediately pour water into mixer bowl with flours. Turn mixer on low to medium speed and mix dough with paddle attachment until cool enough to knead by hand.
3. Turn mixer bowl over onto counter and knead dough until completely combined and smooth. If dough seems wet or sticky, dust with 00 flour and continue kneading process. If dough continues to be sticky repeat this step until dough is not sticky to touch.
4. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for two hours or until completely chilled.
5. Once dough is chilled through, place on counter. Use rolling pin to flatten to an even thickness of about a half inch. Don't over think this step, just roll the dough.
6. Use pizza cutter to cut long strips of dough the same width as the thickness you rolled out the dough to. Essentially, you are making long rectangles. Pick up each strip and dust with semolina flour. Tip, place 1-2 cups of semolina in a small mixing bowl and simply submerge the strips in the bowl for best adhesion.
7. Line the dough strips up side by side on your cutting board. With your chef knife, cut straight across the dough strips making small cubes of dough.
8. Pick up one cube of dough at a time and with your thumb, press and roll the dough firmly across the gnocchi board. This takes a bit to get the hang of when making the perfect shape so don't get discouraged. You should be basically crushing each cube to the gnocchi board and pressing it downward to create the perfect shape that will hold sauce and look great. If using a fork, place the tines on the work surface with the bottom of the fork pointed upward. Place dough cube where the tines start closest to the fork handle, press firmly and allow dough to roll toward work surface.
Cooking the Gnocchi
1. Bring a pot of water up to boil then reduce to a simmer. Salt may be added to water to taste if desired.
2. Place gnocchi in simmering water. The gnocchi are done cooking when they float to the surface. Remove gnocchi from water and set aside. Gnocchi can be tossed in olive oil and chilled for later use or even frozen if wrapped tightly. However, ideally gnocchi should go from being cooked straight into sauce found in the next recipe. Tip, sometimes gnocchi can stick to the bottom of the pot while cooking causing them to cook longer than desired. After placing gnocchi in pot, wait a minute and give them a gentle stir to ensure nothing is sticking.
Cacio e Pepe Sauce
There are many opinions on how this sauce should be made, this is one of them.
- 5 tbsp butter
- 0.75 C water
- 2-4 tbsp fresh ground black pepper dependant on taste
1. In a large sauté pan add butter and course ground black pepper. Allow butter to melt and cook the peppercorns slightly. Do not brown the butter; you are just heating the pepper a bit to awaken the aromas.
2. Add water and begin reducing until butter and water become one.
3. Add gnocchi and cook in sauce until liquid is reduced and looks almost creamy.
4. Turn off heat and add cheese. Toss or stir gnocchi in sauce until cheese is melted and sauce has formed. Tip, if sauce begins to look oily, this may mean the sauce has broken or become un-emulsified. Simply add 1-2 tablespoons of water and toss again. The sauce should come back together and return to a creamy consistency.
5. Served immediately and top with your favorite olive oil.