Chef Ludo Lefebvre finishes his spaghetti with a dollop of briny caviar.

By Bridget Hallinan
April 15, 2020
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The pasta world is vast and wide, encompassing everything from pillowy gnocchi to hearty lasagna. In this week’s episode of Ludo à la Maison, chef Ludo Lefebvre says he feels the best pasta is simple, naming cacio e pepe as his favorite. He decides to remix the classic recipe, swapping out cheese and adding in lemon juice, dry white wine, unsalted butter, and heavy cream, plus a special twist at the end—a dollop of briny caviar. The result is a salty, creamy, lemony dish that comes together quickly and has a short ingredient list, too. 

Read on for Lefebvre’s key tips for making the dish, and find the recipe on his website.

Grab some spaghetti

Lefebvre opts to use a pound of dried spaghetti for this recipe instead of fresh, since he only has 10 minutes to make the dish in the video. 

Start the sauce

Add two tablespoons of unsalted butter to a pan and heat it on medium until it’s melted. Lefebvre uses induction and keeps whisking it—you want to make sure the butter doesn’t burn or brown. Add one tablespoon of lemon juice and half a cup of white wine (dry, not sweet), and then, three quarters of a cup of heavy cream. Bring the mixture to a boil and let it simmer for five minutes so the sauce can thicken.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta to cook until it’s al dente. It’s key that the water is boiling, since if you start the pasta cold, it will stick together. 

You don’t need to use expensive caviar

Lefebvre says caviar has a lot of different qualities, including the size of the grain, the color, the texture, and saltiness. When you’re cooking, he says there’s no need to buy an expensive one. The dish is going to come out impressive either way.

Add the pasta to the sauce

You want the sauce to thicken to a point where it’s a little bit shiny. At that point, take the cooked pasta, drain it (make sure to save a cup of cooking water), and add it in. Mix it up and add in a little bit of salt—not too much, since the caviar is salty on its own—and a little bit of black pepper as well. Use the reserved water if needed if the sauce seems dry. 

Twist and plate

Although some people put the caviar right in the pasta while combining it with the sauce, Lefebvre prefers adding it afterwards, so it doesn’t cook. Once everything’s combined, he adds the pasta to a plate with an elegant twist and then garnishes with a dollop of the caviar.

Bonus: Coco 75 cocktail 

Lefebvre makes a “Coco 75” cocktail to serve alongside his pasta using Ciroc Coconut (Ciroc sponsors his show), two dashes of grapefruit essence, lemon juice, simple syrup, and ice. After combining it in a shaker, he pours the mixture into a coupe and tops it with Champagne and a grapefruit peel garnish.