Andy Baraghani's chickpea cacio e pepe recipe against a two-tone orange background.
Design by Jess Murphy

There are many recipes for pasta. Most of the time, the majority are souplike. This recipe is comforting and creamy, but it emphasizes chickpeas and pasta. The chickpeas release their starches and transform the pasta water into a creamy sauce, which is the magic of this dish. The shape of the chickpeas is different, some retain their shape, while others turn to delicious mush, and the caramelized lemon adds some bite to the pasta. It is incredibly satisfying. I want you to know that the first meal I made for my boyfriend was the one you made, and he has been with me ever since.

Serves: 4 (plus—maybe—leftovers, though I doubt it)

  • Kosher salt.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil is a cup.
  • A small Meyer or regular lemon has seeds picked out.
  • chickpeas, drained and washed
  • 1 large shallot is finely chopped.
  • There are either 1 or 4 sprigs of either Rosemary or thyme.
  • Freshly ground pepper.
  • 1 pound of tubular pasta.
  • Cut into small pieces unsalted butter.
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese is needed.

Step by step, here is how to do it.

Caramelize the lemon

  1. Throw in a few of the salt after the water is boiled.
  2. While the water is doing its job, set a large pot or Dutch oven to heat up and pour the olive oil.
  3. When the lemon slices are ready to be eaten, use tongs to flip them and cook them for 6 minutes.
  4. The oil in the pot should be left in the bowl after the caramelized lemon slices are transferred.

Crisp the chikpeas

  1. The chickpeas should be dumped into the oil and stir occasionally for 5 minutes.
  2. Drop the oil from the Rosemary into the pot.
  3. Give everything a stir by seasoning with salt and lots of pepper.
  4. Cook until the shallot is soft.

Cook the pasta

  1. The pasta will cook in the sauce about 2 minutes less than the package suggests.
  2. Scoop out 2 cups of pasta water before the pasta cooks.
  3. Bring the pasta water to a boil in the pot with chickpeas, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 15 minutes. It will be more liquid once the remaining ingredients are added.
  4. When the butter and pasta water have become one, stir in one piece at a time.

Combine pasta & sauce

  1. Transfer the pasta to the sauce with a spoon.
  2. Sprinkle the Parmesan a little at a time. The sauce can split and become grainy if the cheese is added all at once.
  3. The sauce clings to the pasta after 3 minutes when the cheese is melted.
  4. If the sauce looks too thick, add more pasta water, 1 to 2 ounces at a time to thin it out. saucier is ideal because it will thicken as it cools.

Garnish & serve

“Turn off the heat and put the lemon in it’s place. Sprinkle with a lot of pepper and more cheese before serving.”

You might know Andy Baraghani for his perspective on healthy eating or for his stunning food photos on Instagram. As a food writer and prolific recipe developer, Andy loves sharing his exceptional culinary skills and food POV with the world.