Skip to main content

Date and Pink Peppercorn Pasta

Plate of creamy pasta with dates and pink peppercorn
Photograph by Emma Fishman, food styling by Pearl Jones, prop styling by Summer Moore

This recipe, inspired by the pink peppercorn mafaldini at Brooklyn’s Lilia, celebrates the harmonious pairing of fruity pink peppercorn and sharp cheese. The chopped dates might make you think twice, but their nutty sweetness and chew balance the pasta sauce’s sharper, savory flavors.

All products featured on Bon Appétit are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through the retail links below, we earn an affiliate commission.

What you’ll need


4–6 servings


oz. mafaldine or tagliatelle pasta

Kosher salt

tsp. freshly ground black pepper


Tbsp. freshly ground pink pepper, divided


Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided


oz. Pecorino Romano, finely grated, plus more for serving


Medjool dates, pitted, finely chopped


Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest


Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Flaky sea salt


Step 1

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 2 cups pasta cooking liquid.

Step 2

Toast black pepper and 2 Tbsp. pink pepper in a dry large skillet over medium, shaking often, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 3 Tbsp. butter; cook, swirling pan, until butter foams, then begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in 4 oz. Pecorino and 1 cup pasta cooking liquid until combined. Add pasta, dates, and ½ cup pasta cooking liquid; cook, tossing often and adding more cooking liquid if needed, until sauce is glossy and coats pasta, about 2 minutes. Add lemon juice and remaining 1 Tbsp. butter; toss to combine.

Step 3

Divide pasta among plates or shallow bowls and top with lemon zest, more Pecorino, and remaining 1 Tbsp. pink pepper. Season with sea salt.