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    Pasta Cacio E Pepe Recipe

    Published February 4, 2022. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

    This 4-ingredients pasta cacio e pepe recipe is a delicious creamy dish of pecorino Romano cheese and pepper with spaghetti pasta for an easy weeknight meal.

    Italian food is some of the most delicious food on the planet. Often the classic recipes we know were created based on what was available. If you want to expand your Italian recipe repertoire then check out my cacciatore or steak pizzaiola.

    bowl of spaghetti cacio e pepe

    Cacio E Pepe is 1 of the 4 traditional Roman pastas along with All-Amatriciana, pasta alla Gricia, and carbonara. It translates to cheese and pepper because essentially those are the main ingredients in the sauce that gives it so much flavor.

    Outside of pasta, Cacio E Pepe can also be expanded into making things such as risotto. Regardless, this simple pasta dish comes together in under 15 minutes making it an excellent weeknight meal for the family.

    Be sure to follow my instructions exactly because the techniques to ensure you have a creamy lump-free sauce are crucial to the success of this recipe.  

    Cacio E Pepe Ingredients

    • Pepper – Freshly ground black pepper is classic, although you can use a mixed color pepper combination.
    • Cheese – Pecorino Romano is the traditional cheese in this pasta.
    • Pasta –Spaghetti pasta is classic to use in this recipe, but feel free to use your favorite.
    • Water – Hot pasta water is needed for this dish.

    How to Make Pasta Cacio E Pepe

    Use these easy-to-follow instructions to make this classic spaghetti Cacio e Pepe recipe:

    Toast some peppercorns over low to medium heat for about 2 minutes or until it becomes very aromatic.

    peppercorns in a pan

    Set aside to cool slightly before grinding it down using a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle and the size of it varies from small grind to coarse grind. Set aside.

    crushed black pepper

    Add some of the pecorino cheese to a medium-size sauté pan along with some crushed pepper.

    cheese and pepper in a pan

    Pour in some pasta water into the pan and mix using a rubber spatula or spoon until it is combined and emulsified. Set aside.

    pecorino cheese sauce with pepper in a pan

    Boil the pasta according to its package and then add it in potions to the pan with the cheese sauce so as to not overload it with pasta water.

    cooking pasta in a pot of water

    Mix using the spatula until combined and then add on more cheese, pasta water, salt, and pepper, and continue to mix until thick and creamy.

    adding cooked pasta to a pan

    Add to a plate and serve with more grated pecorino Romano cheese and more pepper.

    garnishing spaghetti cacio e pepe with pecorino cheese

    Make-Ahead and Storage

    Make-Ahead: This recipe is meant to be served as soon as it is done cooking.

    How to Store: Cover and keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. This will not freeze well.

    How to Reheat: Add the desired amount of pasta to a medium-size pan over low heat along with ¼ cup of water and heat until creamy and hot.

    Chef Billy Parisi

    chef notes + tips

    • You should definitely use Fresh Pasta Dough Recipe, but if not, you can easily swap out for dried.
    • The main reason there are clumps of cheese in the pasta is because the pan gets to hot. Be sure to stir constantly and make sure to turn the heat off if the cheese begins to clump. You can remove the clumps by carefully bringing down the temperature.
    • If pecorino Romano is not available, then substitute with Parmesan.
    • The technique of stirring the pasta is very similar to stir-frying.
    • You may need more pasta water so ensure it stays creamy and the pasta noodles don’t suck up too much of the sauce.
    • No you will not use all the peppercorns in this recipe, I just figured while making this why not make a little extra?  
    cacio e pepe pasta

    More Pasta Recipes

    Let's Cook - Chef Billy Parisi

    Video

    Pasta Cacio E Pepe Recipe

    5 from 1 vote
    This 4-ingredients pasta cacio e pepe recipe is a delicious creamy dish of pecorino Romano cheese and pepper with spaghetti.
    Servings: 2
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 5 minutes

    Ingredients 

    • 2 tablespoons of black peppercorns
    • 1 ¼ cups pecorino romano cheese
    • 8 ounces of hot pasta water
    • 8 ounces fresh spaghetti pasta
    • salt to taste

    Instructions

    • Toast the peppercorns over low to medium heat in a medium size sauté pan for about 2 minutes or until it becomes very aromatic.
    • Set aside to cool slightly before grinding it down using a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle and the size of it varies from small grind to coarse grind. Set aside.
    • Divide the cheese into 3 piles. A large pile, a medium size pile, and a small size pile. The sizes of each do not need to be perfect.
    • Add the large pile of cheese to a medium frying pan along with a ¼ teaspoon of ground pepper, a ½ cup, or 4 ounces, of hot pasta water and mix using a rubber spatula or spoon until it is combined and emulsified. Set aside.
    • Boil the pasta according to its package and then add it in potions to the pan with the cheese sauce so to not overload it with too much pasta water.
    • Mix using the spatula until combined and then add the medium size pile of cheese along with ½ cup more, or 4 ounces, of pasta water, salt, and continue to mix until thick and creamy.
    • Add to a plate and serve by garnishing with the last small size pile of pecorino Romano cheese and additional ground pepper.

    Notes

    Make-Ahead: This recipe is meant to be served as soon as it is done cooking.
    How to Store: Cover and keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. This will not freeze well.
    How to Reheat: Add the desired amount of pasta to a medium-size pan over low heat along with ¼ cup of water and heat until creamy and hot.
    You should definitely use Fresh Pasta Dough Recipe, but if not, you can easily swap out for dried pasta.
    The main reason there are clumps of cheese in the pasta is that the pan gets too hot. Be sure to stir constantly and make sure to turn the heat off if the cheese begins to clump. You can remove the clumps by carefully bringing down the temperature.
    If pecorino Romano is not available, then substitute with Parmesan.
    The technique of stirring the pasta is very similar to stir-frying.
    You may need more pasta water so ensure it stays creamy and the pasta noodles don’t suck up too much of the sauce.
    No, you will not use all the peppercorns in this recipe, I just figured while making this why not make a little extra?  

    Nutrition

    Calories: 688kcalCarbohydrates: 93gProtein: 36gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 65mgSodium: 764mgPotassium: 440mgFiber: 6gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 314IUCalcium: 737mgIron: 3mg
    Course: Main
    Cuisine: Italian