It doesn’t get much better than a simple cacio e pepe pasta recipe. This pasta recipe is ready in 15 minutes and is so yummy. Enjoy!
Simple Cacio e Pepe
When in doubt, make cacio e pepe! It’s ready in less than 30 minutes, packs in all the flavors, and is so versatile. Plus, it’s very likely that you have everything you need on hand.
This simple pasta recipe can be made as-is or you can jazz it up and add a protein such as shrimp or chicken. The meal is completed with a dusting of parmesan cheese and fresh cracked pepper.
Cacio e pepe directly translates to “cheese and pepper” and is a simple dish made from these ingredients, plus butter and tossed in pasta.
Though cacio e pepe is incredibly simple, the combination of parmesan cheese and fresh ground black pepper provides for a deliciously rich flavor profile for such a simple pasta dish.
why you’ll love it!
30-minute meal: dinner is ready to serve in less than 30!
Flavorful: parmesan and black pepper are a killer combo.
Versatile: add any kind of protein or sautéed veggies to this recipe to jazz it up.
Cacio e Pepe Ingredients
- Spaghetti noodles: cacio e pepe traditionally calls for spaghetti noodles, but feel free to sub for whatever pasta noodle you prefer.
- Olive oil and butter: these are used to break down the cracked black pepper and bring out the flavor.
- Cracked black pepper: can’t have cacio e pepe without pepper! We recommend fresh cracked black pepper for the best flavor.
- Parmesan cheese: freshly grated parmesan cheese is added right at the end before serving.
- Starchy pasta water: the secret to any pasta sauce is starchy pasta water. That’s right, reserve some water from boiling your pasta.
- Salt: always salt in layers and to taste.
How to Make Cacio e Pepe
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup of cooking water for the sauce!
Saute cracked pepper
Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pan. Once the butter has melted add the cracked black pepper, and cook for 2 minutes
Combine remaining ingredients
Add the noodles and reserved cooking water to the pan and toss a couple of times. Add in the parmesan cheese and continue to toss until all of the cheese is melted.
Serve immediately topped with additional parmesan cheese and fresh cracked pepper.
The beauty of this cacio e pepe is that it pairs amazingly with pretty much any pasta. Here are our favorites:
- Angel hair
Want to take this cacio e pepe recipe up a notch? We’ve got some great ideas for you to add protein and more veggies to this recipe.
Chicken or Shrimp: any kind of cooked (grilled, pan-fried, baked) chicken or shrimp would be amazing in this pasta.
Spinach or Kale: wilt down 3 or 4 huge handfuls of spinach and/or kale to add some greens to this dish.
In-Season Veggies: sauté or roast any of your favorite in-season veggies. Add anywhere from 3-4 cups of broccoli, cauliflower, peas, zucchini, etc.
Once the cacio e pepe is cool, add to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
To reheat this pasta, add leftover cacio e pepe to a pan and add a few tablespoons of broth or water to the pasta and heat the pasta over low until warm. Top with additional parmesan cheese and fresh cracked pepper.
Cacio e Pepe
- 8 oz. spaghetti noodles
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 cup reserved pasta water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package instructions, about 8 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of cooking water, drain and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pan. Once the butter has melted add the cracked black pepper. Cook for 2 minutes
- Add the noodles and ½ cup of the reserved cooking water to the pan and toss a couple of times. Add in the parmesan cheese and continue to toss until all of the cheese is melted.
- Serve immediately.
Tips & Notes
- We found that grating the cheese ourselves worked better. If that is not an option we prefer grated cheese opposed to shredded cheese for store bought.
- Any noodles can be used in this recipe.