Cheese & Pepper Pasta (Cacio e Pepe)

Andy Anderson !


I will confess that it took me several years to get this recipe right. My aunt Josephine used to make it all the time, but I never watched how she did it.

The ingredients are simple: cheese, pepper, and pasta… so what’s so hard about that?

Well as one of my teachers used to say: Oftentimes the simplest dishes are the easiest to get wrong. She spoke from years of cooking wisdom.

So, you ready… Let’s get into the kitchen.

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10 Min
20 Min
Stove Top


14 oz
spaghetti, or tonnarelli
8 oz
pecorino romano cheese
black pepper, freshly ground, to taste


1Chef’s Note: Just one thing about traditional Cacio e Pepe
It does not have any:
Heavy Cream
Vegetable Oil
Parmigianino Reggiano

This was a simple dish invented by the Romans… It’s designed to get it on the table quickly, with good hearty flavor, and that’s it… full stop.
2Gather your ingredients.
3Grate the Pecorino Romano, and reserve.
4Bring 3 quarts of water to the boil, and add a bit of salt.
5Cook the pasta to al dente, according to package directions.
6Drain the pasta and reserve some of the pasta water.
7Place a serving bowl over a pot of hot water and warm the bowl up.
8Chef’s Tip: This is an important step, and will help with the mixing of the cheese and the pasta.
9Add the pasta to the warm bowl.
10Gradually add Pecorino Romano cheese and a bit of hot water tossing vigorously until you get a creamy consistency.
11Chef’s Tip: If the sauce becomes too watery, add more cheese; if it becomes too dry, add some of the pasta water.
12Season with lots of freshly ground black pepper and toss.
13Serve while still nice and warm. Enjoy.
14Chef’s Note: I did make this dish using a spaghetti squash in place of the pasta, and it was awesome. You might want to give it a try.
15Keep the faith, and keep cooking.

About this Recipe

Course/Dish: Pasta
Main Ingredient: Pasta
Regional Style: Italian
Other Tags: Quick & Easy, Heirloom