Cacio E Pepe

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December 8, 2021

1M+ Views Italian Pastas Recipes Vegetarian

Cacio e Pepe: this traditional Roman pasta (one of the classic four!) is so simple (literally the name means CHEESE & PEPPER) and comes together in under 20 minutes – making it the ideal pasta night dish!

Watch the Cacio e Pepe Recipe Video Below!


THIS RECIPE ONLY HAS THREE INGREDIENTS… so every ingredient should be the highest quality so they can shine!

    • Dry toast your peppercorns before grinding – this really enriches the aroma and brings out an extra layer of smokiness and spiciness that will enhance your dish.
    • Use whole peppercorns and grinding them so they are FRESH! This makes a world of different in flavor.
    • I personally used spaghetti in this dish but you can sub with any long pasta (for ex: fettuccine, linguine, bucatini, tagliatelle). You can use either fresh or dried pasta; my only recommendation is to use the highest quality stuff you can find! I like bronze-cut pasta because the surface of the pasta allows for more sauce to cling to it.
    • I like to always have a wedge of high quality cheese in my refrigerator – I don’t like using pre-grated cheese because they contain preservatives to keep the shreds from clumping. I get my pecorino cheese from Costco!
    • Reserve 1 cup of your pasta water for your sauce and let it COOL to 150F or 70C before mixing it with your sauce. I have made this dish countless number of times and when you mix the hot pasta water straight from the pot, the sauce always turns out clumpy.

Cacio e Pepe

Servings 2


  • 6 oz spaghetti
  • 2 oz pecorino cheese grated
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water cooled to 150F (70C)
  • 1/2 tbsp whole black peppercorns


  • Toast whole peppercorns over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes to extract the oils. Transfer to a pepper grinder or mortar and pestle and grind to a medium coarse grind. Add back to your pan with the heat off.
  • Cook your spaghetti (or pasta of choice) in lightly salted water. 2 minutes before the pasta is done, reserve 1 cup of pasta water and set on the counter to let cool to about 150F or 70C – this is the key to avoiding lumpy cheese! Adding pasta water straight from the pot is much too hot.
  • Still of the heat, add 3/4 of your grated cheese to your peppercorns along with a 1/4 cup of pasta water at a time, stirring until you get a loose but emulsified sauce.
  • Add your drained pasta and mix vigorously. At this point your pasta should start to absorb the sauce, but add additional pasta water and mix if the sauce is too thick. Continue mixing until you achieve the correct consistency (refer to video). Serve immediately and enjoy!
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