I’ve been on such a simple pasta kick lately and this Cacio e Pepe Recipe is high on that list. I love everything about this pasta – the simplicity, minimal ingredient list, how delicious it is, and how fast it comes together!
Table of contents
- What is Cacio e Pepe?
- How to Make Our Cacio e Pepe Recipe
- Ingredients to note:
- Cacio e Pepe Variations
- Tips and Tricks for Cacio e Pepe Success
- What to Serve with Our Cacio e Pepe Recipe
- Reheating Leftovers
- Other Pasta Recipes You Will Love
What is Cacio e Pepe?
Cacio e Pepe (pronounced ca-cho ee pepe) is a Roman pasta dish that translates to “cheese and pepper”. The simple dish consists of spaghetti, black pepper and Pecorino Romano (and in our case a little butter too!)
How to Make Our Cacio e Pepe Recipe
Ingredients to note:
- Pecorino Romano: We love using a microplane to grate the cheese. It’s fine grate helps the cheese to melt into the dish really evenly. See our Cacio E Pepe Variations below for alternatives to this cheese.
- Pasta: Bucatini is kind of like spaghetti, except it’s slightly thicker and is in the form of a tube.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and generously season with salt.
- Add pasta and cook until al dente.
- Drain pasta, reserving some pasta water.
- Place skillet (or same pot used to cook pasta) over medium heat and add pasta back into pot and add reserved pasta water and butter.
- Toss together.
- Add grated cheese and black pepper and continue to toss together until sauce comes together and is smooth and creamy.
- Top with more grated cheese and serve.
Tools You Will Need
Cacio e Pepe Variations
- Pecorino Romano is a hard, Italian sheep’s milk cheese. It has sharp, rich nutty flavor, making it the perfect cheese for this simple pasta dish. If you don’t have it or can’t find it Parmigiano-Reggiano is a totally acceptable alternative.
- Make this recipe gluten free by swapping out your favorite gluten free pasta.
- Add a protein to the pasta like sautéed shrimp or grilled chicken.
- Keep it vegetarian friendly, but bulk it up with some vegetables like steamed peas or steamed/sautéed broccoli.
- Bring some heat to the dish with a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.
- Add some texture to the dish by topping it off with some butter toasted breadcrumbs.
Tips and Tricks for Cacio e Pepe Success
This is such a simple recipe, we’re confident anyone can successfully make this dish! The one issue we see people running into when making this dish is the cheese clumping up when tossing it together with the pasta. The addition of warm pasta water is the answer! The starchy water helps to create a creamy, saucy consistency that perfectly coats the pasta.
What to Serve with Our Cacio e Pepe Recipe
This cacio e pepe recipe is a simple but rich dish so we like to pair it with leafy greens tossed in a light dressing. We also like to serve this with some simple Roasted Root Vegetables, our Grilled Avocado Salad and our Balsamic Grilled Baby Carrots.
We rarely have any leftovers with this dish because we tend to inhale the entire thing in one sitting, but if you do happen to have leftovers, we have a couple of easy ways to reheat them to ensure it’s just as good as when you made it fresh! Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
To Reheat Stovetop
Place your leftover pasta in the skillet with a splash of water to help loosen things up. Cook on medium low – and just long enough to heat through. You don’t want to dry out the pasta. Top with more cheese if you have it and serve.
To Reheat in a Microwave
Place your leftover pasta in a microwave safe bowl. Splash a little water into the bowl and microwave for 45 seconds. Take it out and give it a little stir. Don’t worry if it’s still a little watery, this will help steam the pasta back to life. Return to microwave and head for another minute or until fully cooked through. Make sure you don’t overheat this dish, or you will dry the pasta out!
This cacio e pepe recipe is the perfect weeknight dinner to throw together, especially if you’re in a pinch for time and ingredients. I love using this brand of pasta, but you can use any pasta of your choice.
Other Pasta Recipes You Will Love
- One Pot Fettuccine Alfredo
- Homemade Vodka Sauce
- Capellini with Garlic Lemon and Parmesan
- Lasagna Roll Ups
- Bolognese Sauce with Pappardelle
- One Pot Pasta with Sausage and Zucchini
- Browned Butter Fettuccine Alfredo
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Cacio e Pepe Recipe
- 8 oz dried bucatini or spaghetti
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- ½ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano plus more for garnish
- ½ tsp cracked black pepper
- Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Add a small handful of salt and pasta to boiling water.
- Cook pasta, stirring occasionally until al dente, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Drain pasta, reserving 2/3 cup pasta water.
- Pour pasta back into pot or into a large skillet and place over low heat.
- Add pasta water and butter and toss together until butter just melts.
- Add grated cheese and black pepper and continue to toss together until cheese melts and a creamy sauce forms.
- Top with more grated cheese and serve.