Nothing better than the classics. Lemony Cacio e Pepe.
While this recipe is quite simple and uses few ingredients, the difficulty is balancing them perfectly and creating a creamy, cheesy sauce that is flavorful is really what makes this recipe a crowd pleaser in Italy and beyond. I added a hint of lemon to really brighten it up… I also love adding lemon to everything! Recipe for my Lemony Cacio e Pepe is below:
Lemony Cacio e Pepe
1 lb malfadine
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 cup pecorino toscano
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tbsp butter
juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp lemon zest (more for garnish)
Grind the black peppercorns with a pestle mortar (it should be be a powder but crushed coarsely). Set aside
Grate both the parmesan and pecorino and transfer to a bowl. Set Aside
Toast the ground pepper in a saucepan for about 2 mins on medium to low heat.
Boil your water with salt. When the water boils, add your past and cook for about 3-5 (I used fresh pasta from eataly so that cooks faster than boxed pasta) If you are using boxed pasta - cook for 5-6 mins. The pasta will finish cooking in the saucepan with the pepper and cheese.
Meanwhile, add 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the saucepan with the pepper.l and turn the heat on low.
Transfer the pasta to the saucepan with the pepper and let it finish cooking. About another 3-4 mins. Add the lemon juice
While the pasta is cooking, create a paste with the leftover pasta water and mix it with the cheese in a bowl. You will get a creamy consistency - like ricotta
Once ready, add the cheese and 1 tablespoon spoon of butter and mix to combine. Add more pasta water to let it come together. Grate the fresh lemon zest overtop and it is ready to serve!
If you would like, you can add more cheese and pepper before serving