Vegan Cacio e Pepe
This speedy vegan take on cacio e pepe utilizes a classic technique: Cook the pasta just short of al dente, reserve some of the starchy pasta water to add body to the sauce, then simmer the pasta in its sauce with a splash of pasta water, stirring vigorously until the sauce is emulsified. While many dairy-free pasta recipes look to puréed, soaked cashews for their creaminess, this one cuts corners by using store-bought cashew butter. A spoonful of miso adds depth, and tangy nutritional yeast adds umami. Toasting the peppercorns boosts their flavor and softens them.
- Serves: 4 persons
- Kosher salt
- ⅓cup nutritional yeast
- ¼cup cashew butter
- 2tablespoons white miso paste
- 1tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 16ounces dried spaghetti
- ¼cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- ½lemon, squeezed as needed (optional)
Step 1Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high. (Go easy on the salt here, since the miso paste added in Step 4 is high in salt.) Add the nutritional yeast, cashew butter and miso to a small bowl and stir into a thick paste. Crush the peppercorns using the flat side of a knife. (Alternatively, you can roughly chop them, or use a pepper grinder set to a coarse setting.)
Step 2Add the pasta to the boiling water, reduce the temperature to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes before al dente according to package instructions. Reserve 2 1/2 cups pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta.
Step 3Add 1/4 cup olive oil to the empty pot and heat over medium. Add about two-thirds of the crushed black peppercorns and toast, stirring frequently, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.
Step 4Add the miso mixture, and stir, then whisk in 1 3/4 cups reserved pasta water until sauce is smooth. Add the pasta to the sauce and cook over medium-high, tossing it constantly and vigorously with tongs, until the sauce is glossy and the pasta is fully al dente, 1 to 2 minutes. Add an extra splash of reserved pasta water to keep the sauce glossy, if needed.
Step 5Divide among bowls. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with remaining crushed pepper and serve immediately.