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Cacio e Pepe Recipe

Cacio e Pepe Recipe

4.5 Stars (20 Voters)
Cacio e Pepe – traditional Roman pasta dish. Cacio e Pepe means “cheese and pepper”. This classic Italian pasta requires only 4 ingredients and 20 minutes of work. The result is amazing: creamy, cheesy and rich pasta!
20 Minutes
20 Minutes

  • 200g (7oz) pecorino cheese
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 300g (10.5oz) Pasta
  • Salt

  1. Fill a large pot with about 2.5-3L water. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and bring to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile grate the cheese and place in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
  3. Toast the peppercorns on a dry pan for about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and crush.
  4. When the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook 3 minutes less than on the package instructions.
  5. When pasta is cooked for 5 minutes, place crushed pepper back into the dry pan, add about ½ cup of pasta water and cook. At this stage you also need to prepare cheese paste: to the bowl with the grated pecorino, add 1/2 cup of pasta water and stir until smooth paste forms. Set aside.
  6. Add the pasta to the pan, then add about 1/2 of pasta water and mix. Cook the pasta this way for 2-3 minutes, add more pasta water as needed.
  7. Turn the heat off, add the cheese paste and cook, stirring and tossing until all the cheese is melted, combined and creamy.
  8. Serve immediately!

Frequently asked questions:

What kind of pasta is the best for cacio e pepe?

There are many potions. Traditionally cacao e pepe is made with thick spaghetti like bucatini. But you also can use regular spaghetti, any other king of thick spaghetti, linguine, fettucine, tagliolini, tonnarelli and more.

What kind of cheese is traditionally used to make cacio e pepe?

In all authentic Roman-Italian recipes the cheese they used to make cacio e pepe is Pecorino Romano (an Italian cheese made with sheep’s milk) and I would suggest to stick to the recipe.

Can we use other cheese?

If you can’t find pecorino cheese, you can try making this dish with parmesan, grana Padano or other similar cheese, but the taste will be different.

What if we don’t have mortar and pestle?

 If you don’t have mortar and pestle you can use pepper grinder. Grind the pepper to a drt pan and toast for 2-3 minutes, same instructions as with peppercorns.

How to store Cacio e Pepe?

You can store leftover pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 3 days.


  • When boiling the pasta, don’t use a lot of water. Use just enough water to cover the pasta, that makes the water extra starchy, which helps making extra creamy sauce.
  • Some recipes using butter. In traditional cacio e pepe there is no butter, and here is no need to add butter. What makes the sauce thick is the pasta water which has starch and the cheese.

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