Cacio & pepe pasta “frittatine” with Grana Padano

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Cacio & pepe pasta “frittatine”  with Grana Padano

Details

. Difficulty: Easy . Serves: 4 people . Preparation time: 30 minutes
Who likes spaghetti cacio e pepe?? Well, what if I told you that I took my spaghetti cacio e pepe, coated it in breadcrumbs and then deep fried it for extra oozy deliciousness?
Mouthwatering, right? 
This dish is a real treat, inspired by the famous Neapolitan street food scene which is full of crispy delights. So incredibly tasty! No need to count calories for these. Just enjoy! 

Chef tip: use silicone moulds as they are much more practical. I recommend using a small or medium sized mould (approx. 6-7cm wide), because, if they are bigger, the frittatine could end up being cold in the middle once fried.

Ingredients

1,5 l vegetable oil 
2 eggs for the egg-wash
Plain flour to dust
300 g panko or breadcrumbs
200 g spaghetti
Salt and pepper to taste
Grana Padano Riserva to garnish

For the Grana Padano “cacio e pepe” béchamel
500 ml of milk (warm, if possible)
50 g of butter
5 g of plain flour
150 g of Grated Grana Padano Riserva "Oltre 20 mesi"
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Start by preparing the béchamel. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add in the sieved flour. Cook for a couple of minutes, constantly stirring, on a medium heat until the roux (mix of butter and flour) is golden. Then slowly pour in the milk and bring to the boil, while stirring with a whisk. Boil for 2 minutes and then remove from the heat. The béchamel should be now ready, creamy and with no lumps. With the help of a hand blender stir in the grated Grana Padano cheese, until smooth. Season carefully with salt (as the cheese will have already made the béchamel tasty) and lots of black pepper. Set aside.
Cook the spaghetti in salted, boiling water until al dente and strain straight into the Grana Padano béchamel sauce, reserving some of the water. Add a ladle of the spaghetti water and mix until well creamy and combined. While still warm, fill your moulds with a forkful of spaghetti and sauce. Press down on the spaghetti mixture to make sure there are no air bubbles and cover with cling film or parchment. Let them set in fridge for about 4 hours or overnight.
When firm, remove the spaghetti from the moulds and coat them with flour. Dip them into the seasoned egg-wash and then toss them into the panko or breadcrumbs, ensuring they are evenly covered.
Heat the oil to 170° C degrees.
Deep fry the frittatine until golden. This will take about 4 minutes. Make sure the oil is not too hot or they will be golden outside and cold in the middle. Alternatively,  place the frittatine on a baking tray and drizzle over some Extra virgin olive oil. Bake them at 180°C for approx. 6-7 minutes.
Sprinkle the hot frittatine with sea salt, extra Grana Padano Riserva and enjoy them while they are still hot!
Danilo Cortellini