This is my very favorite minimalist recipe. It’s a spin on an Italian cacio e pepe recipe, but it’s so much more than the sum of its parts.
It’s also the easiest recipe I have ever made. And one of the most delicious. You’ll be surprised by how these humble ingredients work together to make such a luscious, rewarding pasta. And did I mention that you’ll have dinner on the table in under 10 minutes? This recipe is that perfect mix of insanely easy + crazy delicious + so very affordable that will make it an instant weeknight staple.
As Mario Batali says: “Food, like most things, is best when left to its own simple beauty.”
Lemon Pepper Pasta Recipe
aka cacio e pepe con limone
1 package of spaghetti (I use whole wheat)
Extra virgin olive oil
2 large lemons
Freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan (ideally Parmigiano Reggiano)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta for 1 minute less than the package indicates. Strain the pasta, return it to the pot, and place over very low heat. Drizzle olive oil over the pasta until thoroughly coated (you’ll need at least a ¼ cup and likely more) then juice the lemons into the pot. Grind a lot of black pepper onto the pasta—you’ll want each strand of spaghetti to have multiple flecks of pepper on it. Sprinkle a hearty pinch of salt and grate as much cheese as you like over the pasta.
Serve onto four plates and top with an extra drizzle of olive oil, another grind of pepper, and more cheese at the table.