Creamy Lemon Spaghetti
Can you tell I like pasta? This recipe is basically cacio e pepe with a creamier, lemonier (is that a word?) twist. I made it in a recent TikTok video, which you can find here: https://vm.tiktok.com/cRbvHx/ .
This recipe is super simple requires no more time than the spaghetti needs to boil. Please note that the ingredients are rough estimates -- I recommend watching the video linked above to see exactly how much I use.
Estimated Ingredients (for 1 serving):
Abundant kosher salt (to salt the pasta water)
~1 serving dry spaghetti
Pecorino romano cheese (Approx. 1/2 cup freshly grated) parmigiano reggiano is fine, but pecorino romano has a better flavor for this dish
Freshly ground black pepper
~2 tablespoons cold butter
~3 tablespoons mascarpone cheese, cream cheese, or heavy cream
Read the whole recipe through before starting, or watch the video. Otherwise, it might be confusing.
Heat a pot of water over a high flame. Meanwhile, grate your pecorino romano cheese in a bowl. Zest your lemon and add the zest to the pecorino cheese. Juice your lemon in a separate bowl.
When your water is at a rolling boil, generously salt it and add the pasta. Cook as per the package instructions, subtracting 1 minute from the al dente cook time. For example, if the package says "cook 11-13 minutes", cook 10. When the pasta has about 2 minutes left, get a dry skillet going over medium heat and continue to the next step.
Use a ladle to add a couple tablespoons of hot pasta water to your pecorino-lemon zest mixture. Mix it well with a spoon or fork to dissolve it.
Crack some pepper into the dry skillet and let it toast briefly. Add a couple ladlefuls of hot pasta water to the skillet with the pepper (about 2/3 cup). Add in the butter and continually shake the pan to let the butter slowly melt in and emulsify.
Add the cooked pasta to the skillet (I prefer to use tongs over draining it). Add the pecorino-lemon-water mixture into the skillet and the mascarpone. Mix everything really well and let the pasta simmer in the sauce for the last minute of its cook time. Add more pecorino cheese and keep agitating the pasta if it is not emulsifying.
Finally, turn off the heat and add in the reserved lemon juice. Mix well. Enjoy with more black pepper on top!