Authentic Cacio e Pepe Recipe

Authentic Cacio e Pepe Recipe
By The Cooking World, Editorial Staff
May 1, 2020

How to Make the Best Cacio e Pepe Recipe

For this week’s recipe, we decided to share with you an authentic Cacio e Pepe recipe. Literally “cheese and pepper”, this Roman dish only takes three ingredients – cheese, black pepper, and pasta.

Despite having only 3 ingredients and being easy to make there are some things that you need to consider if you want to nail this recipe. The cheese should be freshly-grated pecorino Romano, a salty sheep’s milk cheese. The black pepper should be freshly cracked and plentiful so you can taste its heat and fruitiness. And in terms of the pasta, spaghetti, bucatini, or tonnarelli are all traditional choices.

You can find some recipes that use butter, cream, or olive oil, but if you want to try the authentic recipe you should stay away from these ingredients.

5 minutes
15 minutes


320 g (11 oz ) spaghetti
180 to 200 g (3 to 3 1/2 cups) pecorino romano cheese, very finely grated
7 g (2 teaspoons) freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt

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  1. Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water according to the packet instructions. Reserve 2 cups of the cooking water as you drain the pasta.
  2. In the meantime, heat a large skillet over medium heat and toast the black pepper until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and spread it on parchment paper so it cools down. Then transfer it to a mortar and pestle and start to crush it carefully until coarsely ground.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat add 180 g (3/4 cup) of the cooking water and add the black pepper (reserving just a little to garnish) and let it boil - this will encourage an emulsion to form.
  4. Add the drained pasta to the hot pan, toss to coat the pasta, then sprinkle it with the cheese (reserving just a little to garnish). Use tongs to vigorously toss the pasta, adding more pasta water as needed to create a creamy sauce. Taste and adjust salt as needed.
  5. Garnish with the remaining cheese and more coarsely ground black pepper and serve immediately.
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