You’re going to love my Cacio e Pepe Recipe! It only takes five ingredients to make this deliciously cheesy, creamy, classic Italian pasta dish. And the best part is it only takes 10 minutes to prepare, making the perfect simple recipe for a weeknight meal.
The combination of two classic Italian cheeses, Parmigiano Reggiano and Pecorino Romano cheese is the classic way to make this dish, but in all honesty, I prefer it will all Romano cheese. I would make it with both types of cheese the first time you try this dish and decide for yourself.
The sharp flavors of these salty cheeses blended with butter, black pepper, and starchy water from cooking the pasta blend into a creamy sauce that will tantalize your taste buds!
This isn’t a dish you often find on restaurant menus, but I’m sure it will become a go-to pasta recipe for you at home because it’s amazingly delicious and easy to make.
What ingredients do I need to make Cacio e Pepe?
Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make for my Authentic Cacio e Pepe Recipe. In Chef Speak this is called the “Mise en Place” which translates to “Everything in its Place”.
Not only does setting your ingredients up ahead of time speed up the cooking process, it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.
- Parmigiano Reggiano
- Pecorino Romano Cheese
- Black Pepper
- Bucatini Pasta
I used chopped Italian parsley as a garnish to add some color to the dish, but that’s an optional ingredient. Please take note that there is no olive oil or heavy cream used in making this dish.
What is Cacio e Pepe?
Cacio e Pepe (pronounced cach-io eh pepe) is a Classic Roman pasta dish that literally translates to “cheese and pepper”. The simple dish consists of bucatini (or spaghetti), black pepper, butter, Romano cheese, and Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese.
How to make Cacio e Pepe
- Fill a large pot with water over high heat, adding one teaspoon of salt to the water. Bring the water to a rolling boil.
- Cook the pasta, per instructions on the package for al dente pasta.
- While the pasta water is boiling, add the butter to a large skillet over medium-high heat to melt the butter.
- When the butter has fully melted, remove the pan from the heat and add the black pepper to the butter.
Drain the pasta in a colander, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water. You shouldn’t need all the water, but having more reserved pasta water than you need is okay.
Place the drained cooked pasta into the large skillet over low heat.
Add ½ cup of the pasta water along with the Romano cheese and Parmigiano Reggiano to the pasta and toss until the cheese melts and creates a creamy sauce.
At this point add additional water if the mixture isn’t creamy.
Be careful not to take too long to mix the pasta together as the cheese will start to get gooey instead of creamy.
When it comes to Italian pasta dishes, this simple recipe is one of my favorites. Cacio e Pepe, with its buttery, cheesy, creamy pepper sauce will soon become a family favorite!
For a cheese to be classified as Parmigiano Reggiano, it must come from particular regions of Italy and contain only approved ingredients. Parmigiano Reggiano is also aged longer (1-3 years). Parmesan is not regulated and may be aged as little as 10 months.
Although Cacio e Pepe will be at its best when served immediately, you can reheat it. It can be stored in an air-tight container for up to 5 days. Take not that the sauce will thicken in the fridge and will you will need to add a splash or two of water to the pan as you reheat the pasta.