This is a riff on the Roman classic Cacio e Pepe which adopts nearly identical techniques and creates a dish with an amazingly similar texture and a fantastically surprising flavour profile.
I like things pretty peppery and spicy - so if you aren't into that, just cut down the amounts. It's your life. I won't judge your capsaicin consumption.
What you need:
(For two servings)
- Spaghetti 200g
- Sichuan Peppercorns 2 tbsp
- Black Peppercorns 2 tbsp
- White Miso 4 tbsp
- Dried Chilli x 2
- Olive Oil 2 - 4 tbsp
- Lemon 1/2
- Nori 1 sheet
I realise some of these won't just be sitting in your pantry, but it's worth heading to your local Asian supermarket to pick some up. Get some other stuff while you are there too. Ideally something that scares you a bit.
What you do:
Deseed chillies, toast lightly in a pan then crush in a spice mill or mortar and pestle.
Toast and crush pepper.
Cut 1/8 of the nori sheet into thin slivers - like the photo. Crush the rest into flakes.
Add pasta to boiling salted water. Channel your inner Samin Nosrat and salt it properly.
Heat 2 tbsp of oil in pan (frying or sauté pan)
Add pepper and chilli. Fry until fragrant.
Drain pasta, reserving the pasta water. Add pasta to pan.
Make a slurry with some of the pasta water and the miso paste. Add to pan.
Toss/stir/tong until silky emulsion starts to form.
If it starts to seize up add a bit of pasta water and continue.*
If it tastes like it needs more oil - add the rest of the oil.
Finish with lemon juice and crushed nori and a final toss.
Serve and garnish with nori slivers.
*You are aiming for it to be a little more liquid than you want when you serve as it will seize up a little as it cools.
If you aren't sure where to start, watch this video on Cacio e Pepe by the legend that is Kenji Lopez Alt: