Cacio e Pepe Recipe

Katie Jasiewicz | Katie's Cucina

Cacio e Pepe is an Italian classic. Simple cheese and pepper make this pasta something special.

Looking for a quick one-pot weeknight meal that will take you 15 minutes from start to finish? Give this classic Roman pasta dish a try. Cacio e Pepe is also known as cheese and pepper pasta.

As the name suggests, the ingredients of the dish are very simple and include only black pepper and Pecorino Romano cheese. Think of it as a kicked-up grown-up version of mac and cheese.

And while this isn't a new invention, it's skyrocketed in popularity in recent years, especially in the United States, as more restaurants add it to the menu. I think it's because of that perfect balance between the edge from the black pepper and pecorino cheese that makes it the perfect savory meal.

Cacio e Pepe Photo

I choose bucatini pasta for this classic dish. I love bucatini because of the hole in the middle of the pasta. That hole captures all of the flavors of the sauce you're making. In this case it captures specks of ground black pepper, olive oil, and if you're lucky, a little cheese!

It's also generally a little bit chewier than spaghetti, though you could use that as a substitute if it's all you have on hand (or if you just prefer it). You kind of can't go wrong with any noodle here, but bucatini gives it that bounce and that great mouthfeel I'm after.

Cacio e Pepe Picture

Since announcing last year that I’m expecting a baby in the spring I’ve been concentrating on quick and easy meals. And meals that consist of very few dishes since I have no energy to cook and clean and I’m nice like that and try to spare my husband the extra dishes.

You can cook this up in a French oven or a stock pot, whatever floats your boat. Just make sure you're using freshly ground black pepper! Nothing brings flavor to Cacio e Pepe like freshly ground pepper.

Yes, technically other black pepper will work, but I strongly encourage you to use fresh cracked black pepper if at all possible, because it isn't just an afterthought in this dish — it's one of the primary ingredients!

Cacio e Pepe Image

Or really, one of the only ingredients, as this meal relies almost entirely on pasta, black pepper, and cheese. The rest is optional!

Serve this cheese and pepper pasta with a loaf of garlic bread and a side of this Panzanella Salad recipe to complete your meal! 

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Cacio e Pepe Recipe

    4 Servings


  • 1 tablespoon Salt
  • 16 ounces Bucatini Pasta
  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • dash of Garlic Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Black Pepper, freshly ground (more if you'd like)
  • 1/2 cup Pasta Water
  • 5 ounces Grated Parmesan Cheese


  1. In a large pot, salt the water for pasta (at least 1 tablespoon). Cook pasta according to package for about 8-10 minutes until al dente.
  2. Before straining bucatini, reserve at least 1/2 cup of pasta water. Strain pasta.
  3. In the same pot add olive oil, dash of garlic powder, and freshly ground black pepper. You will want at least 1 tablespoon of freshly cracked black pepper; however, if you want more, feel free to pepper it up! Cook the mixture for one minute on medium heat.
  4. Add pasta back to the pot along with the half-cup of water. Mix well then begin to add the Parmesan cheese. Reserve a few tablespoons of cheese for topping.
  5. Divide pasta in four large bowls and top with additional Parmesan cheese and black pepper. Buon appetite!
Cooking Method:
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Related Recipes:
One Pot Meal Recipes, Italian Recipes, Boiled Recipes, Easy Dinner Recipes, Dinner Recipes, Cheese Recipes, Pepper Recipes, Quick Recipes, Easy Recipes
Recipe Yields:
4 servings
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:
Related Post:
Author: Katie Jasiewicz
Recipe Yields: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 bowl
Servings Per Recipe 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 158
Calories 646

% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g
  Saturated Fat 6g
Sodium 2286mg
Total Carbohydrate 82g
  Dietary Fiber 4g
  Sugars 4g
Protein 25g

* Percent Daily Value are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
** Nutrition Facts are estimated based on ingredients and data provided by Fat Secret. Please consult a doctor if you have special dietary needs.
Katie Jasiewicz

About Katie

Katie is our resident one-pot meal fanatic, but you'll find that she's passionate about every kind of food, from dinners to desserts, on her blog Katie's Cucina.

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