I have literally just finished my last mouthful and run for my camera memory card, uploaded my piccies and started this blog post. That’s how good I thought tonight’s dinner was – I had to share it with you right now!

Having iPlayered Lorraine Pascale’s new TV series and been captivated by her cracked black pepper homemade pasta I knew I had to make it myself – I am a total black pepper addict, love, love, love it! 

The recipe (at the end of this post) makes enough for two hungry people for tea. And me and the Hungry Hubby are certainly just that. After the pasta has had a little rest in the fridge, roll it through your pasta machine until you can start to see your hand through the pasta sheet, as Lorraine instructed however, if you grind the pepper too coarsely, it can tear the pasta the finer you roll it.  Do watch the video in the link above of Lorraine making this dish so you can see what you’re aiming for. Now here comes the inventive bit (Lorraine is great at finding DIY solutions to not having the exact right tools to hand, probably because she’s a trained mechanic as well as chef and model…) – you dry the pasta on a coat hanger! 

Now, here’s where I really started to deviate – I wanted a mushroom sauce which was less about the cream and more about other flavours. Notably, smoked pancetta pieces, normal white and baby chestnut mushrooms, marsala wine, a splosh of cream and a carpet of parsley. Of course, served with plenty of parmesan. 

Cracked Black Pepper Pasta with Marsala Mushrooms and Pancetta
Serves 2
Adapted from a recipe by Lorraine Pascale, I've very much made this dish my own.
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For the pasta
  1. 200g tipo 00 flour
  2. 2 eggs
  3. 1 tsp olive oil
  4. 1-2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
For the sauce
  1. 1 tbsp olive oil
  2. 100g rindless pancetta, cut into cubes slightly less than 1cm big
  3. 8-10 chestnut mushrooms, halved or quartered
  4. 6-8 button mushroom, sliced thinly
  5. 3-4 tbsp Marsala wine
  6. 40-60 ml single cream
  7. Plenty of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  8. Plenty of parmesan to serve
Instructions
  1. Simply tip the flour into a bowl and crack on the eggs following closely with the oil & pepper. I like to use a fork to bring it all together then knead with my hands until it comes together in a ball which I wrap in cling film and leave for at least thirty minutes if not an hour.
  2. When chilled, roll out then feed through a pasta machine working down the sizes until you have a thin sheet you can almost see your hand through.
  3. Now you have a very long strip of pasta, dust very lightly in flour, fold in half over and over until you can't fold any more then slice as thickly or thinly as you like. I like it about in 1cm wide strips like for tagliatelli.
  4. Unwind and hang your pasta out to dry on a coat hanger, if you don't have a pasta specific drying contraption!
  5. Leave at least 30-40 minutes to dry out.
  6. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, slide in the pasta and cook for probably around 5-6 minutes - once it rises to the surfaces and floats there, it is cooked.
  7. Reserve one cup (250ml) pasta water and drain the remaining water away.
  8. Meanwhile, prep the sauce: heat the oil in a large saucepan, toss in the pancetta cubes - cook on medium heat until the fat has rendered out and the pancetta is just browned.
  9. Add in your mushrooms - they will suck up the juices immediately but patience! Keep on cooking them and they will soften and release them again in a few minutes.
  10. Now pour in your Marsala and allow it to reduce but not fully evaporate away.
  11. Stir the cream in and dribble in enough of the reserved pasta water to "let down" the sauce to your preferred consistency.
  12. Tip in your drained pasta, herbs and cheese and toss to spread the ingredients around coating each strand of pasta.
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