Cacio e Pepe is easy, breezy, foolproof and ready in 20 minutes—the easiest pasta dish you can whip up in no time!
We all need those go to weeknight recipes that require few ingredients, especially ones we most likely already have on hand, and does not take much time. Well, this is IT! Need a bit more? Try pairing with fish, chicken, or shrimp! Or try it with Easy Chicken Piccata or Instant Pot Meatballs.
What is Cacio e Pepe?
This is an Italian pasta dish that directly translates to “cheese and pepper”. It is authentic and very simple because it really doesn’t include many ingredients.
Cacio e pepe combines noodles with a no-fuss sauce made of pasta water, cheese and loads of freshly ground black pepper.
Trust us when we say it’s an easy dinner win that everyone will love!
Pasta: The traditional pasta types for this recipe are spaghetti, bucatini, and tonnarelli. If you have a favorite recipe for fresh homemade pasta noodles, feel free to use it! Although, dried packaged pasta works just as well and makes this nice and quick.
Cheese: You need to use freshly grated parmesan cheese, specifically pecorino romano. The pre-grated parmesan cheese in the green container will just clump up and not work for this recipe.
- How to prevent clumping? There are multiple techniques you can use to help the cheese melt. You can either pour the cheese directly on the hot pasta, pour the pasta into a bowl full of cheese, or you can make a “cheese paste”. This is when you mix the cheese, pepper, and cold water together and then mix it into the pasta. It will form a thick paste that will then melt when it hits the warm pasta.
How to Make Ciao e Pepe
PASTA. Boil pasta according to the package’s instructions. Drain the pasta in a colander, return to the pot. Set the pot on a cool burner.
SAUCE. Add the butter, and toss until melted. Add the cheeses, salt, and pepper, then toss to combine. Serve immediately!
How to season (just pepper?) The main flavor for this pasta comes from the cheese and the black pepper. Freshly ground black pepper is the best option because it will give you the best and most authentic flavor. If you use the right type of cheese you won’t need any other flavoring!
Storing + What to Serve With It
Storing/reheating? Store leftover pasta in the fridge. It should keep in the fridge for about a week. When you reheat it, either in the microwave or on the stovetop, you may want to add some more butter and top it with more cheese to revive the consistency.
We like to serve cacio e pepe with any (or all!) of these sides:
- Zesty Italian pasta salad
- Italian chicken noodle soup
- Best ever cheesy garlic bread
- Cucumber dill salad
Cacio e Pepe Recipe
- 1 lb spaghetti
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter - cut into tablespoons
- 1/4 c Parmesan Cheese - grated
- 1/4 c pecorino romano - grated
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- Boil pasta according to the package’s instructions. Use a colander or clip on colander to drain the pasta, return to the pot.
- Set the pot on a cool burner. Add the butter, and toss until melted. Add the cheeses, salt, and pepper, toss to combine.
- Serve immediately.