Three ingredients are all you need to make this iconic Cacio e Pepe pasta dish. Perfect for late nights when you want something fast and filling.
Yes you read that correctly, 3 ingredients are all you need to make this Iconic Roman Cacio e Pepe pasta dish. Spaghetti, freshly ground black pepper and grated Pecorino Romano cheese. It is a seemingly simple dish but it does require a little finesse. We’ll give you our best secrets and tips for you to make this at home.
MEANING OF CACIO E PEPE IN ITALIAN?
Cacio is dialect for cheese. Pepe means pepper. Put them together it means cheese and pepper. Pretty straight forward, right?
WHAT INGREDIENTS DO I NEED TO MAKE CACIO E PEPE ?
You’ll need the following THREE KEY ingredients to make this pasta at home (the following contains affiliate links. I earn from qualifying purchases).
- spaghetti – preferably a bronze die cut pasta.
- black pepper – freshly ground right before using.
- pecorino cheese – Pecorino is a hard ripened cheese made from sheep’s milk. It is salty (why we use minimal additional salt in the recipe) and sharp. You’ll want to grate it finely.
TIP: use a MICROPLANE to FINELY and easily grate cheese
WHAT ARE TIPS TO MAKE THE BEST CACIO E PEPE?
- Use FRESH ground black pepper.
- TOAST pepper.
- Use LESS water than you typically would to boil pasta. We’re after extra starchy water.
- FINELY grate cheese. I use a Microplane.
- CREATE a cheese paste – You’ll do this by adding a SMALL amount of cooked pasta water to freshly grated cheese. Mixing it together until you have a paste consistency.
TIP: Remember it’s easier to ADD than take away. Use a little cooked pasta water at a time until you have a paste consistency.
MORE DELICIOUS PASTA RECIPES TO TRY
If you’re feeling inspired by this cacio e pepe pasta recipe, you’ll love these other tasty pasta recipes:
- Pesto Pasta Salad
- Bucatini with Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Sauce
- Spaghetti with Butter Roasted Tomato Sauce
- Spaghetti with Sweet Potato and Tomato Sauce
- Sausage Ragu with Pappardelle
- Place pot of water onto boil. USE half of the water you would typically use. When boiling, lightly salt water. Cook pasta until SHY of al dente.
- WHILE pasta is cooking, Into a deep sided pan add pepper and toast over medium heat. Add a ladle of cooked pasta water.
- Transfer al dente pasta directly to deep sided pan. Remove from heat. Stir to combine.
- Allow pan to sit for approximately a minute to cool slightly.
- Add cheese paste and stir vigorously. Add small amounts of cooked pasta water as necessary until you have achieved a creamy emulsified sauce.
- Garnish with additional black pepper if desired.
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