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Cacio e Pepe is a simple Roman pasta dish that is easy to make and tastes absolutely heavenly. This cheesy peppery Italian pasta is a favorite for a reason. 

Cacio e Pepe on white plate

We traveled to Rome to seek out the best recipe for Cacio e Pepe and have now brought it back to share with the masses. This recipe is authentic as it comes and is the perfect version of Cacio e Pepe to make at home. Don’t let its simplicity fool you, this pasta is absolutely delicious!

\The translation of Cacio e Pepe literally means cheese and pepper. This pasta dish is incredibly simple, but packs a lot of rich flavor with pecorino Romano cheese and freshly ground pepper. It has a very rich and strong flavor due to the Pecorino Romano sharp cheese as well as the heavy amount of pepper. Warning: some might find this dish spicy. 

  • Cheese Options:

    Because this is a classic Roman dish, you should use a hard cheese from the Roma region of Italy when making this dish for the most authentic flavor. Pecorino Romano is the traditional choice. If you do not have pecorino Romano available to you, grated Parmesan is an acceptable substitute, though not an authentic choice as it comes from the Parma region of Italy.

  • Pasta Options:

    The traditional choice of pasta for Cacio e Pepe is tonnarelli pasta, a thick round long pasta similar to a thick spaghetti or bucatini. Since these are both similar in shape, they both make acceptable substitutes where tonnarelli is not available.

  • Storage and Reheating Instructions:

    Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat on the stove over medium low heat until warmed through with a scant amount of water to keep it from sticking together. 

If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other pasta recipes:

Authentic Cacio e Pepe with fork

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTubeFacebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

cacio e pepe on plate
Cacio e Pepe is a simple Roman pasta dish that is easy to make and tastes absolutely heavenly. This cheesy peppery Italian pasta is a favorite for a reason.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
  • 1 pound tonnarelli or thick spaghetti pasta
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups finely shredded pecorino romano cheese or freshly gfrated
  • 1 cup pasta water approximate
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper*
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add in salt. Cook your pasta until al dente.
  • (Optional Step) Place the pepper in a small skillet and toast over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Remove cooked pasta from the water with tongs when finished and placed into a large mixing bowl.
  • Add in 1 1/4 cups pecorino romano cheese immediately, reserving the remaining 1/4 cup. Add in 1/2 cup of the pasta water and pepper.
  • Stir with tongs quickly to allow the heat from the pasta and water to melt the cheese. Add remaining water until you have a thick, creamy sauce coating the pasta.
  • Serve hot sprinkled with remaining cheese.
*How much pepper you add to this dish is a matter of personal preference and can also vary based on how strong your pepper is. Some may prefer up to 2 tablespoons of pepper while others may only enjoy 1 or 2 teaspoons. 
Freshly grated cheese melts better than pre-grated or pre-shredded cheese as it doesn't have any additives. If the cheese melts too quickly it can clump up. Using the fine shredding side of your cheese grater may produce the best results. 


Calories: 382kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 26mg | Sodium: 1469mg | Potassium: 216mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 115IU | Calcium: 291mg | Iron: 1.4mg
Course: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Cacio e Pepe
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