Cacio e Pepe quite literally means cheese and pepper, and its traditionally made with Pecorino Romano cheese and peppercorn for a rich and hearty plate of spaghetti. We have been experimenting in making a plant-based version using miso instead of melted cheese for that unctuous umami sauce and an addition of seasonal leeks for a robust allium hit.
Miso is a Japanese ferment made traditionally of Koji, Soybeans and Salt. Mixed and packed into a fermentation vessel and left to develop those umami rich glutamates for up to 6 months, this is the perfect vegan alternative to a healthy dose of cheese. We added leeks basically because they are in season, and we had some in the fridge that needed using. Caramelised in a pan with butter before mixing with the miso and peppercorns makes a perfect and simple spaghetti dish. We love our topped with a good helping of our Leek, Lemon & Samphire Kraut to break through the creamy Cacio e Pepe pasta with a zesty, briney hit.
Happy little accidents as Bob Ross once said.
Serving 2 people
- 150g spaghetti
- 25g plant-based butter
- 2 sliced leeks
- 2 tbsps good quality Miso (we like Koji Kitchen or Kultured London, shop bought is good too)
- Salted water for pasta
- 1-2 tbsp Ground peppercorns
- Lemon zest
- Leek, Lemon & Samphire Kraut
- Slice leeks in half, length ways and rinse under running water to remove any sand, silt, or soil. Slice the leeks into half moons and keep to one side.
- Grind fresh peppercorns into a bowl, we like about 1-2 tablespoons but use more or less depending on your preference. Zest your lemon and keep to one side for garnishing later.
- Place a frying pan on a low heat and melt your butter before adding the leeks and slowly caramelise them whilst bringing another pan full of salted water to the boil for your pasta. Once caramelised, mix through your miso ensuring the leeks are thoroughly coated.
- Once your salted water is at full boil add your pasta and cook to package instructions, usually around 10/12 mins. Before draining your pasta water reserve a cup and keep to one side.
- Add your peppercorns to the leeks and mix thoroughly, once mixed add your cup of pasta water and bring to a simmer.
- Drain your pasta and add to your sauce again mixing thoroughly before plating into deep bowls.
- Garnish with lemon zest or our Leek & Lemon Kraut and enjoy!