You know those posh New York and Italian restaurants that serve pasta in the shape of a parmesan cheese wheel?
We’re talking about putting perfectly al dente pasta in a giant, hollowed-out block of parmesan, swirling it around until the cheese is all melty, serving it in a dish with freshly cracked black pepper.
Is there anything more delectable than that? So, whether you’ve heard of it or not, brace yourself for a feast straight from heaven without the 100-pound cheese wheel.
I really wanted to make this dish at home, but after doing some research, I discovered that parmesan wheels of cheese are not only ridiculously costly, but also quite difficult to find.
So I devised a recipe that retains all of the cheesy flavor of Italy, but with a much smaller block of cheese. This dish would be ideal for a dinner party, served with crusty bread and a bottle of red wine.
Choosing The Pasta
Pappardelle egg noodles are the epitome of Italian cuisine. They offer the closest flavor to noodles prepared from scratch, the ideal texture, and a beautiful golden hue.
I used to believe that adding egg yolks to pasta would be disgusting, but it’s merely a method of transforming flour into noodles, as opposed to simply adding water. I assure you they do not taste eggy.
Season your pasta water with salt! This is one of the most important procedures, as it assures that the pasta will have a wonderful flavor.
Use less pasta water! Did you know that the starchy, salty pasta water left behind from cooking is the ideal ingredient for any pasta sauce? I learned this method from the greats!
Do I Have To Use Egg Noodles?
Although semolina flour and egg yolks are used to make authentic Italian pasta, any standard pasta, including ones without egg, will work in this recipe. Linguine or penne would be my second-choice pasta. The answer must be yes if you’ve ever tried eating a lot of cheese with a variety of different pasta shapes and sizes.
Choosing The Cheese
In this recipe, Parmigiano Reggiano will be used. It is a hard, granular Italian cheese made from cow’s milk and matured for at least 12 months. The name derives from its origins in Parma, Reggio, and Modena. Parmigiano Reggiano is a slightly distinct cheese from standard parmesan, with a crisp and nutty flavor.
When grating the cheese, I recommend roughly cutting half of the wedge with a fork or food processor (see images for reference) and finely shaving the other half with a microplane. These two techniques give the pasta the ideal combination of melted cheese and a little of firmness.
Would Any Other Cheese Work For This Recipe?
If you don’t have Parmigiano Reggiano on hand, Pecorino Romano or plain parmesan are suitable substitutes. At the very least, I would recommend using an aged cheese to give it the greatest taste.
Choosing The Toppings
In this recipe, the cheese is simply seasoned with black pepper; but, if you’re feeling very upscale, you could also add garlic bread crumbs, lemon zest, or truffle salt.
1 pound Pappardelle pasta
1 8-ounce slice Parmigiano Reggiano
12 tablespoons butter
1 tsp. black pepper
Cook the pappardelle pasta according to the instructions on the package.
2. Prepare the cheese by grating roughly half of it with a fork and finely grating the other half (see images for help). Set aside the cheese.
3. When the pasta is done boiling, reserve a quarter cup of the cooking water and drain the spaghetti.
4. Combine the pasta, butter, coarse half of the cheese, and fine half of the shredded cheese in a large mixing basin. Slowly drizzle in the pasta water (you may not need all of it) until blended. If the pasta still appears a touch dry, drizzle with olive oil.
1 container of Pappardelle
1 8-ounce wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano
½ tbsp butter
1 grain black pepper
1. Prepare the pappardelle pasta as directed on the packet.
2. To prepare the cheese, roughly grate half of it with a fork (see the photos for instructions), then finely grate the remaining portion. Separate the cheese.
3. After the pasta has finished boiling, drain it while reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.
4. Combine the pasta, butter, half of the coarsely grated cheese, and half of the finely grated cheese in a large bowl. You might not need to use the entire amount of pasta water. Add it gradually until well-combined. You can also add a little olive oil if the pasta still feels a touch dry.
5. Arrange the pasta on a serving dish, top with the remaining fine cheese, and add some black pepper. Mangia!