Cacio e Pepe
It was one of those days where I was struggling on the elliptical half listening and watching E!, flipping through gossip magazines and where every minute felt like ten. Starving and climbing speedily for the last five minutes as if it would push time forward magically, I bumped into a recipe for Cacio e Pepe (cheese & pepper). Ding, ding, lunch!
I thought about ripping the recipe page from the gym’s magazine but I am too honest for that. Plus there were too many people watching. Just kidding. Anyway, I wasn’t sure if I had rice linguini at home and I was relieved to find a whole unopened pack. Soba buckwheat noodles are a go to linguini but cacio e pepe would taste much better to me today with regular noodles a la Italiana rather than a la Japonesa. But don’t sweat it and use whatever pasta you have in the pantry.
When you add the cracked pepper make sure you don’t over pepper since the cooking will make it all seriously spicy and you will be crying and sniffling the whole time. This is what happened with my first batch of cacio e pepe and I had to make a second one, starving and all.
You can use lemon zest as an option while cooking the pasta. I happened to have a Meyer lemon sitting around so I used it. Keep in mind that Meyer lemons are sweeter than regular lemons if you choose to use one. My pasta came out delicious with a slightly sweet bite on the tiny zest.
Creamy and delicious!
- 6 ounces rice linguini pasta
- 2 tablespoon non-dairy butter (I use Earth Balance)
- 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoons olive oil plus extra to drizzle
- ⅓ cup vegan mozzarella
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- Salt to taste
- Bring 3 quarts of water to boil in a large pot
- Add salt and pasta
- Cook two minutes less than the cooking instructions call for in the box
- Drain pasta and reserve ¾ cups of the cooking water
- Melt butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat
- Add pepper and lemon zest and cook for a minute
- Add pasta water and let it boil
- Lower heat
- Add linguini and swirl in water for a minute
- Add cheese and gently toss while it melts
- Add nutritional yeast and toss (optional)
- Salt to taste
- Sprinkle with chopped basil and serve (basil optional)
- Drizzle with olive oil