Okay, so I know this isn’t really cacio e pepe at all considering it doesn’t have even a shaving of cheese (aka cacio) in it— but it really comes close to the real thing with its creamy savory peppery satisfying amazingness. This pasta dish is one of the best things I’ve made in a long time and I am so excited to share the recipe with you.
This recipe was modeled after my vegan mac + cheese sauce recipe, so the base is still potato and cashew— which gets super silky and creamy after steaming and blending, but this time it’s flavored with nutritional yeast, lemon, and miso for a perfect umami taste, and lots of black pepper for that classic cacio e pepe kick.
cacio e pepe
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 medium sized potato (I used russet)
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1.5 tablespoons chickpea miso (any white miso works)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2/3 cup filtered water
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic
Pasta of your choice, I used Brown Rice Spaghetti
First, peel and chop the potato into chunks, then add it to a pot of boiling water along with the cashews. If you have a steamer basket, feel free to steam the potato and cashews over boiling water. Boil or steam for about 10-15 minutes or until the potato is soft and fork tender. Once the potato is tender, start boiling the water for your pasta.
Strain the potato and cashews (or remove from steamer basket) and add to a high speed blender with the miso, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, sea salt, 2/3 cup of water, and half of the total amount of black pepper (1/2 teaspoon). Blend on high until smooth and creamy. Set aside the sauce until you’re ready for it.
In a medium to large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Once glistening, add in 4 thinly sliced garlic cloves. Cook for 5 minutes or until golden brown and slightly fried and crispy. Remove with a slatted spoon and set aside until ready to plate.
In the same skillet with the garlic infused olive oil, add the cooked pasta + enough sauce to coat the pasta (I had about 1/3 cup of extra sauce leftover.) Cook the pasta and sauce together for a few minutes and let the sauce thicken up and stick to the noodles. Serve with extra freshly cracked black pepper and crispy garlic slices.