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If one pasta dish exemplifies the complexity of pan sauce precision, it's cacio e pepe (literally, cheese and pepper). The minimalist recipe calls for only a few ingredients and doesn't even include garlic. But the techniques outlined here elevate the dish to something magnificent. The creamy twirl of noodles is like a stripped-down mac and cheese-only more elegant and easier to make. No wonder it's on the menus of America's most stylish Italian restaurants. It's a simple standard by which cooks are measured, yet no two chefs agree on how to do it right. We sorted through the variations and found it works best with a mix of Grana Padano (velvety) and Pecorino (sharp) cheeses, and freshly cracked black pepper (you should taste the heat).

Provided by Oliver Strand

Categories     Cheese     Pasta     Christmas     Easter     Quick & Easy     High Fiber     Father's Day     Back to School     Dinner     Lunch     Parmesan     Winter     Anniversary     Shower     Simmer     Boil     Bon Appétit     Sugar Conscious     Vegetarian     Pescatarian     Peanut Free     Tree Nut Free     Soy Free     No Sugar Added     Kosher

Yield Makes 2 servings

Number Of Ingredients 6

Kosher salt
6 ounces pasta (such as egg tagliolini, bucatini, or spaghetti)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed, divided
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
3/4 cup finely grated Grana Padano or Parmesan
1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino


  • Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a 5 quart pot. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 2 minutes before tender. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup pasta cooking water.
  • Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add pepper and cook, swirling pan, until toasted, about 1 minute.
  • Add 1/2 cup reserved pasta water to skillet and bring to a simmer. Add pasta and remaining butter. Reduce heat to low and add Grana Padano, stirring and tossing with tongs until melted. Remove pan from heat; add Pecorino, stirring and tossing until cheese melts, sauce coats the pasta, and pasta is al dente. (Add more pasta water if sauce seems dry.) Transfer pasta to warm bowls and serve.

Rayburn Rayburn
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This dish is so good, I could eat it every day.

Olayemi Omolayo
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I'm so glad I found this recipe. It's my new favorite way to make cacio e pepe.

Liliana Gomez Cortes
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This dish is so versatile. I've added different types of cheese and pepper, and it's always delicious.

Kiani Kashif
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I love how easy this recipe is to make. It's perfect for a beginner cook.

Raymond Dzumbunu
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This dish is so flavorful and delicious. I highly recommend it.

rj. haider
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I've tried several cacio e pepe recipes, and this one is by far the best.

Abeerakhan Cutie pie
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This is the perfect recipe for a weeknight meal. It's quick, easy, and delicious.

Brian Langschwager
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I'm not a huge fan of cacio e pepe, but this recipe changed my mind. It's so good!

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This dish is so quick and easy to make, but it's also incredibly flavorful and satisfying.

Raji Mia
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I love how versatile this recipe is. I've added different types of cheese and pepper, and it's always delicious.

josue molina
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This is my go-to recipe for cacio e pepe. It's always perfect.

Arjun Pun
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I've made this recipe several times now, and it's always a hit with my family and friends.

Syed Abbas
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This dish is so flavorful and delicious. The cheese and pepper combination is perfect.

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I love how easy this recipe is to make. It's perfect for a quick and easy weeknight meal.

Ice IceQais
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This is the best cacio e pepe recipe I've ever tried! It's so simple to make, but it's incredibly flavorful and delicious.

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    #30-minutes-or-less     #time-to-make     #main-ingredient     #preparation     #5-ingredients-or-less     #easy     #pasta-rice-and-grains