Ultimate Cacio e Pepe: The Perfect Roman Comfort Food

Authentic Italian Cacio e Pepe Pasta Recipe with Pecorino Romano & Black Pepper

Discover the magic of cacio e pepe, a simple yet irresistible Roman pasta dish that will transport your taste buds to the streets of Italy.

Craving a quick, satisfying meal after a night out? Look no further than cacio e pepe, the ultimate comfort food that’s both easy to make and packed with flavor. This classic Roman dish, which translates to “cheese and pepper,” has become my go-to late-night indulgence, replacing those impromptu refrigerator tacos of the past.

While cacio e pepe may seem straightforward, mastering this deceptively simple recipe can be a culinary challenge. But fear not! With our expert tips and tricks, you’ll be creating a creamy, emulsified sauce that perfectly coats each strand of spaghetti in no time.

The Secret to Creamy Cacio e Pepe

The key to achieving the perfect cacio e pepe lies in understanding the science behind cheese melting. Pecorino Romano, the star of this dish, is a hard, aged cheese that can be tricky to incorporate smoothly. To overcome this challenge, we’ve developed a foolproof two-pan method that ensures a velvety sauce every time.

By toasting the black pepper in olive oil and butter, we unlock a depth of flavor that elevates this simple dish to new heights. The combination of toasted and freshly ground pepper creates a complex taste profile that will leave your guests begging for more.

A Lazy Cook’s Dream

Our innovative approach to cooking pasta not only saves time but also enhances the dish’s flavor. By using a smaller volume of water, we concentrate the starch, which is essential for creating that luxurious, creamy sauce. Plus, our tong transfer method eliminates the need for extra dishes and ensures you capture all that precious pasta water.

While cacio e pepe may not be a traditional dinner party dish, it’s perfect for impromptu gatherings with friends. The best bites are often enjoyed straight from the skillet, making it an ideal dish for casual, intimate moments.

Cacio e Pepe (Spaghetti With Black Pepper and Pecorino Romano) Recipe


  • 4 tablespoons (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1/2 pound (225g) spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese (about 1 cup; 55g), very finely grated on a Microplane or the smallest holes of a box grater, plus more for serving


  1. Start by heating 3 tablespoons of olive oil and about a teaspoon of black pepper in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Let the ingredients become fragrant and the pepper begin to sizzle, about 1 minute. Set this aromatic mixture aside.
  2. Place the spaghetti in a large skillet and cover with water. Add a small pinch of salt, then bring to a boil over high heat. Gently prod the spaghetti occasionally with a fork or wooden spoon to prevent clumping. Cook until the pasta is al dente, typically about 1 minute less than the package recommends. Transfer 2 to 3 tablespoons of the starchy pasta cooking water to the skillet with the olive oil and pepper mixture. Stir in the butter. Using tongs, lift the cooked spaghetti and transfer it directly to the oil and butter mixture.
  3. Now, add the finely grated cheese and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet. Stir with a fork until the cheese is completely melted and incorporated. If needed, add a few more tablespoons of pasta water to achieve the perfect creamy consistency. Gently reheat the mixture, stirring constantly, until the sauce beautifully coats each strand of spaghetti. Taste and season with salt and additional black pepper as desired. Serve immediately, offering extra grated cheese and freshly ground black pepper at the table for your guests to customize their plates.
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
581 Calories
32g Fat
57g Carbs
16g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 3
Amount per serving
Calories 581
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 32g 41%
Saturated Fat 11g 54%
Cholesterol 40mg 13%
Sodium 382mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 57g 21%
Dietary Fiber 3g 9%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 16g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 223mg 17%
Iron 3mg 16%
Potassium 197mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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