Quick Cacio e Pepe

For this cacio e pepe recipe, pasta is tossed with butter, olive oil, Parmesan and Pecorino Romano cheeses, all dusted with lots of black pepper.

Quick Cacio e Pepe Recipe

The lovely Amanda Hesser has said that the cook–that’s you–will likely be tempted to add more cheese, butter, and oil to this recipe. Well, damn it: Resist the impulse. According to Amanda, there should be just enough butter and oil to coat the pasta like a salad dressing. The cheese should be considered a seasoning on top. Too much oil and butter, the pasta will sit in an oil slick. Too much cheese and it’ll make it loathsomely clumpy. When done right, it’s an elegant dish with compact flavor. This recipe has been updated. Originally published August 18, 2003.Amanda Hesser

Quick Cacio e Pepe Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 35 M
  • Serves 2 to 4

Ingredients

  • Salt (sea, Kosher, or table)
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/2 pound linguini fini, spaghettini, or your favorite long pasta
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon very coarse, freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  • 1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Toss in several tablespoons of salt.
  • 2. Meanwhile, mix both cheeses together in a small bowl. When the water boils, add the pasta and cook it for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Near the end of cooking, scoop out about 1/2 cup of cooking water and set it aside.
  • 3. Drain the pasta in a colander and dump it back on the pot. Drop in the butter, oil and 1/2 tablespoon pepper and stir with tongs or a large fork, lifting and folding the pasta together. Add about 1/4 cup of the pasta water to the pot and place it over medium-high heat. Cook for a minute, stirring to emulsify the sauce. Test a noodle to see if it’s done. It should still be a bit firm in the center, though not as stiff as licorice. Remove from the heat and sprinkle half the cheese over the pasta. Blend once more, then divide the pasta among four warm bowls. Pass the rest of the cheese and pepper at the table.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

This cheese-and-black-pepper pasta is now the little black dress of my repertoire. It’s not something I’m going to make everyday, but when I do make it, it’s going to be for something special. Or for when I’m home alone and want something simple and delicious. Or maybe for when the girls and I need something quick before we head out. I guess what I’m trying to say is I love this and will find every excuse in the book to make it, maybe even while I’m wearing a little black dress.

Comments

  1. I’ve made this recipe a million times using all sorts of pasta. The only issue we have is we have to double the recipe–we love it that much.

    1. Tuck, so happy you enjoy the recipe. And we, too, have to make a larger batch. Somehow it just disappears…and we can’t blame Devil Cat, as he doesn’t like pasta.

  2. Ms. Minchilli is correct in that true cacio e pepe has only the noodle, Pecorino and black pepper. However, this recipe looks delicious. I’m guessing the addition of the oil/butter gives it more “slip” and perhaps eases the mixing. Since I love Pecorino, I would only use that cheese in this recipe. Speak to one Italian cook, and they have their own version of what is authentic. You can find variations everywhere! I especially find this true of Bolognese which, while it is a meat ragu, has hardly any tomato in the recipe. Look online, and even some of the “famous” Italian chefs have lots of tomato in their recipe, which to me, it NOT authentic. It’s a meat ragu, but not a Bolognese. Lots of folks don’t get it right. But I’m sure the recipes are mostly delicious! Happy cooking to all, whichever recipes you choose! Love your site, David!

    1. Hi Karen4. Thanks for your reply. I’m changing the title to “Quick Cacio e Pepe.” Afterwards, I will do my own research and post what most people consider to be a classic version. Perhaps that might require a return to Rome!

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