Cacio e Pepe is my new favorite obsession. Since making this for the first time last week I’ve consumed about 8 servings of it. I can’t get enough. It’s like grown woman macaroni and cheese. Cacio e Pepe translates to Cheese and Pepper. My version here has a little twist. The twist being adding some lemon juice and zest at the end to brighten up the oh-so rich butter and cheese. Cacio e Pepe e Limone.
And it’s one of the easiest things you could make for yourself. Serve it along side a little butter lettuce salad and call it a night.
Cacio e Pepe with Lemon
½ lb thin spaghetti
4 TB butter
1 tsp black pepper
1 ½ C grated parmesan cheese
juice and zest of half a lemon
Bring 3 quarts of salted water to a boil. Once you have a rolling boil pour in a couple tablespoons of olive oil and add the pasta. Cook until al dente, about 8-9 minutes.
Drain pasta and reserve ¾ cup pasta water.
Using the same pot you used to cook the pasta, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add black pepper and cook for 1 minute, swirling the pot until butter starts to slightly bubble.
Add ½ cup of pasta water to the pepper butter and bring to a simmer.
Add pasta and remaining butter. Reduce heat to low and add half of the parmesan. Using tongs or a large fork toss pasta until parmesan has melted.
Remove pot from heat. Add remaining parmesan and toss until melted. Add a little more pasta water if the sauce seems dry.
Stir in lemon juice and lemon zest. Salt to taste. Serve immediately.