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.
I traveled to Rome to seek out the best recipe for Cacio e Pepe and I’ve 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!
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What does Cacio e Pepe mean?
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.
What does Cacio e Pepe taste like?
Cacio e Pepe has a very rich and strong flavor. Pecorino Romano has a stronger, sharp cheese flavor and is the main flavor of the entire dish. This pasta also has a heavy pepper component so some may find it a bit spicy.
What kind of cheese should I use?
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.
What kind of pasta should I use?
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.
If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other pasta recipes:
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 YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.
Authentic Cacio e Pepe
- 1 pound tonnarelli or thick spaghetti pasta
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
- 1 cup pasta water approximate
- 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add in salt. Cook your pasta until al dente.
- Remove cooked pasta from the water with tongs when finished and placed into a large mixing bowl.
- Working quickly, 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.
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