[RECIPE] "cacio e pepe" inspired pasta

[RECIPE] "cacio e pepe" inspired pasta

A simple, grown-up pasta dish. A vegan version of the Roman classic.


Cashews instead of dairy work wonders, we all know that. Add miso paste and nutritional yeast and you get the savouriness, the umami factor. A squeeze of lemon (or a sprinkle of lactic acid if you have any on hand) brings the tangy characters typical of hard aged cheeses like pecorino, which is used in the original recipe. And then a tonne of black pepper, because it's in the name. Buona appetito.

prep 5 min
cook 25 min
feeds 4 people

30g nutritional yeast (about 1/2 cup)
70g raw cashews (about 1/2 cup), or store-bought cashew butter (see note)
70g shiro miso (2-3 tablespoons), also called white miso
1 tsp salt, or to taste
good squeeze of lemon, or 1 tsp lactic acid (see note) 
500g spaghetti, the better the quality, the tastier the dish
35g evoo (about 1/4 cup)
10g freshly crushed black peppercorns
    1. Fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil (see note). Salt lightly.
    2. Place yeast, cashews, miso, salt, and lemon juice (or lactic acid) in the bowl of a high speed blender.
    3. Cook the spaghetti 3-5 minutes less than indicated on the packaging, and drain. Important: keep the cooking water.
    4. Pour about 350ml of the starchy cooking water into the blender, and blend on high until very very smooth, 1-2 minutes.
    5. Meanwhile place the same pot on medium heat with the olive oil; toast the peppercorns in the oil until fragrant (1-2 minutes).
    6. At this point pour all the sauce into the pot, add the pasta, and toss it energetically for 1-3 minutes, until the sauce is glossy and the spaghetti al dente; you might have to add a splash of cooking water if the sauce becomes too thick (the spaghetti will continue to cook and absorb water).
    7. Serve immediately with more cracked black pepper



  • if you don't have a Vitamix type blender, you can use store-bought cashew butter: make a paste with the butter, yeast, miso and lemon (or lactic acid); strain the pasta as described above holding on to the cooking water; add the paste to the pot after toasting the peppercorns along with 350ml cooking water and whisk until smooth; add the spaghetti and proceed as above.
  • lactic acid is produced by fermenting certain carbohydrates, like potatoes or corn; it is naturally found in jars of pickles, sauerkraut, and fermented foods; it usually is vegan, however make sure to check the label.
  • Don't fill the pot to the brim, instead use just enough water to cover the pasta; this way the starch that the pasta releases while cooking will be more concentrated, and your sauce tastier and creamier.
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