Cacio e Pepe pasta recipe is simple and delicious. It is literally cheese and pepper and only has 4 simple ingredients… Pasta, parm, pepper and butter. I would bet that most of you have all the ingredients in your pantry right now! This only takes about 20 minutes from start to finish. You can make it as a great side dish for a weeknight meal or pair it with grilled chicken, steak or pork. Literally translated, cacio e pepe means “cheese and pepper” in Italian. (Also, the second “c” in Italian is pronounced as a “ch”, so it sounds like “kah-cheeoh eh peh-peh.”) For centuries, this famous cheesy pasta dish has been a staple in Roman cuisine. It is traditionally made with thick spaghetti (traditionally bucatini), Pecorino cheese (or you could sub in Parmesan), and loads of freshly-cracked black pepper. Then instead of adding in lots of heavy cream to make the cheese sauce, all you need are a few ladle-fulls of the boiling starchy water that was used to cook the pasta. It’s the perfect impromptu recipe for pasta night!



  • 8-oz thin spaghetti pasta (or however much you are going to need to feed everyone)
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, cubed, divided
  • 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided



  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup pasta cooking water. Cook enough for the amount of people you are feeding.
  2. In a large skillet (or the pot you just made the noodles), melt 2 Tbsp butter.
  3. Add pepper and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add 1/2 cup reserved pasta water to skillet and bring to a simmer.
  5. Add pasta and remaining butter.
  6. Reduce heat to low and add 3/4 cup Parmesan, tossing with tongs until melted.
  7. Remove pan from heat; add remaining Parmesan and toss. (Add more pasta water if sauce seems dry.)
  8. Transfer pasta to bowls and serve with a nice side salad.


Like this Cacio e Pepe Pasta recipe? Check out some more pasta recipes HERE.


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Cacio e Pepe with salad

Cacio e Pepe

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