Easiest Pasta of All Time with Only 5 Ingredient … Cacio e Peppe

A recipe every Italian keeps in their repertoire for a quick and delicious meal. Cacio e Pepe … Literally “cheese and pepper,” this minimalist cacio e pepe recipe is Italy’s true “mac and cheese”. Once you make it once you will make it again and again without even looking at the recipe. It is a true Italian classic that is loved by American’s just the same. Save the time and money of going to an expensive Italian restaurant and bring Italy to your table with this recipe. Share with friends and family. From my cucina to your table, and always made with, Amore!

Cacio e Peppe pasta on a plate

Simple Ingredients for Real Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e pepe is an iconic Roman pasta. The secret to the dish is in the ‘cremina” cheesy sauce. Some American variations of cacio e pepe add butter, cream, olive oil, red pepper flakes, other types of cheese and even cream cheese to cacio e pepe. As an Italian citizen I need to tell you- No! Keep It Simple! I recommend using quality ingredients and staying true to the authentic recipe. The reasoning for adding extra cream and even cream cheese is trying to achieve that “creamy” texture by cutting corners. The problem is solved by using quality ingredients. I’ll explain more below (Why Cheese Quality Matters is Cacio e Pepe) …

cacio e peppe pasta

All you need to make Cacio e Peppe:

  • Long pasta such as spaghetti, bucatini, or egg tagliolini
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Parmigiano Regiano cheese
  • Pasta water

TIPS FOR THE PERFECT CACIO E PEPE

  1. Use Quality Cheese. Do not cut corners on this step.
  2. Use Quality Pasta. This will make this recipe “restaurant style”
  3. Fry the Pepper. I think frying the pepper brings out the aroma and flavor better. Don’t forget the pasta water. It’s what makes the sauce really “creamy”. However you choose to make this, it’s one of the all time great & classic Roman pastas. Buon appetito!
  4. Save Pasta Water. Make sure to save the pasta at the END of the pasta cooking time so the water is starchy. This is an essential step in creating that “creamy” (without cream) sauce.

Why Cheese Quality Matters in Cacio e Pepe

Since there are only a few ingredients in Cacio e Pepe let’s let them shine and make it count! Let’s start with the cheese. There are some debates in the regions of Italy as what cheese is best. Wether you use Parmigiano-Reggiano, Grana Padana, or Pecorino Romano, or a mix of these- make sure you get the actual cheese from the block and nothing pre grated or packaged! The added ingredients to preserve the pre grated cheese will make your sauce clumpy, dry, and even rubbery. Read Why you Should Grate your Own Cheese. Respecting this tip will insure restaurant quality cacio e peppe EVERY TIME!

cacio e peppe pasta close up

Why Pasta Quality Matters

In short the quality of pasta you use does affect the final product. Read more about it: Pasta Quality Matters: Cheap vs. Expensive Pasta.

CACIO E PEPE: THE LEGEND OF THIS RECIPE

The cacio e pepe recipe is one of the most ancient dish of the Italian cuisine. The legend date back the origin of this simply but delicious Italian spaghetti and cheese to Roman Empire. For centuries, cacio e pepe has been the perfect meal of the Roman shepherds. Dried pasta, aged pecorino and black peppers are easy-to-carry ingredients and don’t spoil easily in the heat. Despite what many people think, cacio e pepe recipe does not needs any oil, cream or butter. The starch inside the spaghetti and the grated pecorino combined in the right way are enough to create the cacio e pepe sauce. This delicious peasant dish is one to make on repeat when you are in a pinch for a filling meal!

More Classic Roman Pasta Dishes


Authentic Pasta Carbonara- Italian Recipe (Video)

Authentic Italian Amatriciana Sauce

Cacio e Peppe pasta on a plate

From My Cucina to Your Table. Mangia! Mangia! (Eat!)

Made with Amore, Elena.

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plate of pasta dish with cheese and pepper

Classic Italian Cacio e Peppe (BEST)

  • Author: Elena Davis
  • Cook Time: 15 min
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

A recipe every Italian keeps in their repertoire for a quick and delicious meal. Cacio e Pepe … Literally “cheese and pepper,” this minimalist cacio e pepe recipe is Italy’s true “mac and cheese”. Once you make it once you will make it again and again without even looking at the recipe. It is a true Italian classic that is loved by American’s just the same. Save the time and money of going to an expensive Italian restaurant and bring Italy to your table with this recipe. Share with friends and family. From my cucina to your table, and always made with, Amore! 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 12 oz (150 g) long pasta of choice spaghetti, bucatini, etc 
  • 3 oz Pecorino Romano (if you can’t find it use 4 oz of parmigiano) 
  • 1 oz oz of Parmigiano, more for topping 
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water 

Instructions

  1. Bring water to a boil in a large pot and season with salt. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente. 
  2. Meanwhile, grate the Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano to a fine powder and set aside. In a medium sauté pan on medium heat- add the pepper and “toast” for 1 minute until you can smell it. 
  3. Drain the pasta and reserving 1 cup pasta water. Start by adding 1/2 cup reserved pasta water to the hot pan with pepper and let simmer for 1 minute turn off heat. Immediately add the cheese and give it a quick stir creating the creamy cheesy sauce. Quickly add hot pasta and stir, stir, stir! If needed add a little more of the reserved pasta water to incorporate pasta with creamy sauce. 
  4. Top with extra Pecorino Romano and/or Parmigiano and extra black pepper to taste and serve immediately.  

Keywords: pasta, pepper, pecorino, parmigiano, mai meal, pasta dinner, 15 minute meal, easy meal, Italian recipe