This authentic cacio e pepe recipe relies on pantry staples of pasta, cheese, salt, pepper, and olive oil as well as a nifty cooking technique to put dinner on the table before you know it.
Cacio e Pepe
- Quick Glance
- 25 M
- 25 M
- Serves 2 to 4
Grab your largest saucepan (you want it to be around 12 inches or 30 centimeters in diameter or large enough for the spaghetti to lie in a single layer) and place it over medium heat. Add the oil and pepper and heat until you can smell the heady spice of the pepper, about 2 minutes.
Add the spaghetti to the pan along with the salt and about 2 cups (16 fluid ounces) water. You’ll want to watch out as the water may sputter when added to the hot oil. Add the remaining 2 1/4 cups (18 fluid ounces) hot water, little by little, as you would with risotto—that is to say, add a ladleful of hot water and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is almost but not completely absorbed before adding another ladleful of water. Repeat until the spaghetti is al dente and the water has reduced to a soupy consistency, 8 to 10 minutes. If the pasta starts to look dry, add a little more water but no more than a total of 5 cups (40 fluid ounces).
While the pasta is cooking, warm some bowls in a low oven. (Don’t ignore this step. It helps ensure the creamy sauce clinging to the pasta doesn’t turn to clumps.)
When the pasta is ready, remove the pan from the heat and add the cheese, a little at a time, stirring furiously and constantly, until a smooth and creamy sauce forms. Serve the cacio e pepe straight away in the hot bowls.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
Wowee! I'll be making this cacio e pepe recipe again and again. Completely surprised by the easy method and the taste—both are fabulous. It's the dish to make when you think there's no food in the house. A few simple ingredients, paired with a glass of wine, and voilà—you have a fancy dinner! I used pecorino Romano cheese. We had some leftovers, and they reheated okay in the microwave with a drizzle of olive oil and a quick stir after a minute or so.
To be honest, I didn't think this recipe would work. But it's genius. The pasta was perfectly cooked. The sauce was super creamy and tasty. And all done in 10 minutes. I'm in love! It took me about 8 minutes to cook the pasta, but I used fresh pasta (linguini by Bertolli ). I boiled water in the electric kettle, and in the meanwhile roasted the fresh ground pepper (I used a tricolored pepper) in the olive oil. Added the fresh pasta and a cup of boiling water. Stirred every minute or so, adding more water. After 8 minutes, the pasta was perfect. Added about 1/2 cup additional hot water and the cheese and stirred fiercely with a wooden spoon for about 30 seconds. Done. Perfect creamy sauce, coating the pasta nicely. The cheese I used was a young Reggiano. Love it and will give it a try with carbonara. The 4 servings is accurate, especially when you use it as a pasta course in an Italian meal.