Cacio e Pepe Recipe

Cacio e Pepe Recipe is a popular Italian pasta dish made with 2 ingredients, cheese, and pepper. This rich and creamy sauce is easily made with pecorino cheese, black pepper, butter, olive oil, and salty pasta water. Tossed with spaghetti, making this recipe simple, with a decadent and flavorful sauce! Perfect for a quick pasta night when you need one!

Cacio e Pepe Recipe…

Cacio e Pepe in Italian means: cheese and pepper.

It is a pasta dish that originated in Rome, Italy, and was created long ago as a meal made with “whatever you had on hand.”

This recipe happens to be another one of those great ideas the Italians came up with to make a dish using only 4 main ingredients.

Regardless of where it came from, this dish is so creamy and delicious, that you won’t be able to stop eating it.

Spaghetti on a blue plate. by

There’s nothing like a great dish of pasta for dinner. Especially ones that are not made with a tomato base sauce.

Besides, we thrive on simple, easy-weekly pasta dishes, like our angel hair pasta with lemon sauce, creamy cauliflower, and pasta cooked with broccoli, just to name a few.

Besides, Italians are known for getting creative in the kitchen and whipping up meals to feed their family. In addition, Pecorino-Romano cheese originates in Rome, which is in the Lazio region of Italy. So it was widely used for many dishes.

Pasta Cacio e Pepe is also gaining popularity here in the U.S., especially in larger cities. You may even spot it on your next dinner menu at an Italian restaurant.

What makes Cacio e Pepe so flavorful?

  • The saltiness from both kinds of cheese combined with the black pepper which carries a complex flavor of piney, citrusy notes, lends a lovely flavor to the spaghetti.
  • Plus, the salty water helps create enough liquid for the sauce to become rich and creamy.

Trust me, it is divine!

2 photos showing the ingredients for cacio e pepe recipe.  by

What are the Ingredients for Cacio e Pepe?

For Cacio e Pepe recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

  1. Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese: at least 1 cup, about 90 grams,
  2. Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese: at least 1/4 cup.
  3. Coarsely Cracked Black Pepper: at least 20 turns of pepper into the pot, with additional pepper when serving.
  4. Unsalted Butter: 4 tablespoons, which is half a stick of butter.
  5. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: 2 to 4 tablespoons is enough.
  6. Salty Pasta Water: at least 1 cup.
  7. Spaghetti: 1 pound (16 ounces.)
A fork twirled in the center of the spaghetti on a blue plate. by

How to Make Cacio e Pepe?

Basically, for this simple recipe, you must boil the spaghetti, reserve some of the salty water, and drain it. Next, toss all the ingredients with the pasta, including the salty pasta water.

All in one pot! Then serve.

4 steps to making this spaghetti with cheese and pepper sauce. by

Notes and Tips for Success!

  • Be sure to REMOVE the Pot from the heat before adding the cheeses.
  • This is a pasta dish needs to be served immediately because the sauce tends to stick to the bottom of the pot.
  • If it does begin to get sticky, add some more of the “salted water” to the pot and stir vigorously.
  • The spaghetti should be a little bit undercooked when drained because it will continue to cook as you make and stir in the sauce.
  • You can add more fresh ground pepper and additional grated Pecorino Romano cheese on top of the dish before eating. It looks great and adds so much flavor.
  • This recipe for Cacio e Pepe is quick and easy to make, with only a few simple ingredients which you probably have in your kitchen.

Questions and Answers…

1. Is Cacio e Pepe kid-friendly? Yes! Cacio e Pepe is a great meal idea for your young diners at the table. Many kids love to eat pasta with butter and this dish is very similar. Here’s a Quick Tip: use a little less pepper for children.

2. Can we use different kinds of pasta other than spaghetti? Of course! Serve this dish using different types of long noodles, especially if you are tired of eating spaghetti. Use gluten-free pasta too!

3. Can we substitute pasta for vegetables? Yes! You can make this delicious dish using popular zucchini noodles, for a healthy and lighter meal.

4. What do you serve with Cacio e Pepe? Serve this simple dish with a variety of entrees and appetizers. You can also serve it as the main entrée. (See our notes below!)

5. Can we add cream to the sauce? Yes, if you prefer. You can pour some heavy cream directly into the pot and the steaming pasta will help to thicken it. Or increase the butter, pecorino cheese, and salty water.

6. How many servings does this recipe serve? This recipe will yield 6 servings.

Options to Serve Cacio e Pepe with?

This is a pasta dish you can serve it alone with a green salad as the side. Or, you can serve it as the first course with any of these:

Storing & Reheating…

TO STORE: Like many pasta dishes, they can be stored in a sealed container and kept chilled in the refrigerator and up to 2 days.

TO REHEAT: You can easily reheat the pasta in the microwave with increments of 1 minute, or more until it is warm enough to your liking. Plus, you can reheat it in a small skillet, on the stovetop, but you will need to add a splash of water to it while reheating.

Additional Easy Pasta Recipes…

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Cacio e Pepe Recipe

Spaghetti on a blue plate. by

Cacio e Pepe Recipe is a simple pasta dish made with a rich and creamy sauce that requires only 4 main ingredients. It's quick, easy, and creamy delicious!

Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 13 minutes


  • 1 pound (16-ounces) spaghetti
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (90grams) of grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 20 turns of coarsely cracked black pepper
  • 3/4 cup of salty pasta water


  1. Bring a large pot filled with water to a full boil. Toss about 2 teaspoons of salt into the water. Toss in the spaghetti and cook it, following the directions on the package, but "undercook" it by 1 or 2 minutes.
  2. Reserve about one cup of salty pasta water, and set it aside.
  3. When spaghetti has a nice bite to it, very al-dente, drain it in a colander. Turn off the heat.
  4. Meanwhile, in the same pot, pour in the olive oil, and toss in the butter.
  5. Next, toss back the spaghetti into the pot, add the grated pecorino cheese, plus grated parmesan cheese, and 20 turns of coarsely cracked black pepper.
  6. Pour in about 3/4 cup of the salty hot pasta water, and toss everything in the pot vigorously until it is well combined.
  7. Serve in individual pasta dishes with additional cracked black pepper and pecorino cheese on top. Serve immediately.

Yields: 4 to 6 servings

Nutrition Information:


4 to 6 servings

Serving Size:

1 serving

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 384Total Fat: 18.1gCarbohydrates: 41.9gProtein: 13.4g

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xo anna and liz

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