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Cacio e Pepe with a Twist by Meredith Griffin

Cacio e Pepe with a Twist by Meredith Griffin

My husband loves Cacio e Pepe, I guess because it’s basically grown-up mac n’ cheese, and it makes me happy because it’s another meatless dish option for us. After playing around with the traditional recipe, I stumbled upon this winning version! A little hint of citrus along with the Pecorino Pepato makes it seem more gourmet, but requires very little extra help. When I tasted the Viszlay Chardonnay, I immediately thought it would be delicious with this version of Cacio e Pepe. I serve either a simple green salad or roasted veggies on the side to complete the meal.

Ingredients for 2

  • 8 ounces Bucatini pasta
  • 3 tbsp butter (Miyoko’s vegan butter works too)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp freshly grated black pepper
  • Zest and juice from one Meyer lemon*
  • ½ cup Pecorino Pepato, grated (Pecorino cheese with black pepper, which may require a trip to your local cheese shop to find; plain Pecorino will work if you can’t find the Pepato version)
  • ½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese grated


  • Begin by cooking the pasts according to the instructions on the package.
  • When pasta is almost done cooking to al dente, add 1 tbsp olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and 1 tbsp butter.
  • Once butter has melted, add the pepper and lemon zest to the pan to cook for about one minute.
  • Add about ½ cup of the pasta water to the pan and bring to a simmer.
  • Add pasta and remaining butter and toss together.
  • Once butter has melted, reduce heat, and add cheese. Toss and add desired amount of lemon juice.
  • If pasta becomes thick add additional pasta water to help thin it out.
  • Divide between two pasta bowls or plates and enjoy with a glass of the Viszlay Chardonnay!

 *If your Meyer lemon gives you an abundance of juice, you may want to start with about half of it. You can always add more if you desire more citrus flavor.

Why this Wine?

The hint of citrus in the Cacio e Pepe adds an additional flavor profile to the dish, which helps bring freshness to the creamy texture. Similarly, the Viszlay Chardonnay has a creamy texture like many Chardonnays, but it also has bright acidity. There is a delicious harmony when the flavors of the wine and pasta come together.


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