spaghetti cacio e pepe

Spaghetti cacio e pepe

Spaghetti cacio e pepe is one of the most typical dishes from Rome, the capital of Italy.

Spaghetti is usually the pasta type that is used for this dish which consists of spaghetti or spaghetti alla chitarra with grated Pecorino cheese and black pepper.

Origin and name of the dish

The dish is really easy to understand: cacio e pepe is literally the translation of cheese and black pepper, which are the two main ingredients of this dish. In fact, in addition to these two ingredients, only spaghetti, salt, and water are needed to make it.

The ingredients of this dish are easy to conserve for long periods of time and so it was an easy dish for shepherds who had to move around with their herds, without a fixed place to stay. Ingredients are also pretty easy to find, and this contributed to the spaghetti cacio e pepe being a very common dish in older times.

How to make spaghetti cacio e pepe

Making spaghetti cacio e pepe might seem pretty easy, but it is not. We have classified this recipe as intermediate because even though the ingredients are only a couple, most Romans won’t accept any kind of pasta dish as the real cacio e pepe. They will be very critical of this, so pay attention if you make it for your Italian friends! You do not want to make huge mistakes (nor little!).

The fact that it only contains four ingredients makes the use of them even more important. It is important to follow the steps carefully because the dish depends on the correct texture and balance of pepper, Pecorino, and the cooking water of the pasta (which is very important in this dish!).

To make the dish, start by boiling the pasta. Use less water than what you would usually use in the pot. The cooking water needs to be very starchy from the pasta because it will be used throughout the recipe, including when making a cream when combined with the cheese.

In the meanwhile, take a generous amount (at least 1 tbsp) of ground black pepper. Toast the pepper on a large pan over medium-low heat. Then add two ladles of cooking water of the spaghetti.

spaghetti cacio e pepe pinterest

When spaghetti are cooked (very much al dente, slightly too hard), drain them. Add the spaghetti into the pan with the pepper. Mix the spaghetti well and add some more cooking water if the pan is dry.

In a separate bowl, add one ladle of the cooking water with half the Pecorino and whisk to create a cream. If needed, add a bit more cooking water. Then whisk in the rest of the Pecorino (save a small amount).

Finally, if needed, add more cooking water to create a creamy texture without lumps. Once the pasta is cooked, add the cream into the pan, turn off the heat and mix extremely well. Then add the remaining amount of Pecorino, mix, and serve.

Do not make the Pecorino cream before because it will lose its texture when it cools down. Adding more cooking water is ultimately up to your judgment because it depends on the cheese and the starchiness of the cooking water – remember that you are making a creamy sauce that doesn’t have lumps so use the water following this rule.

spaghetti cacio e pepe recipe

Variants

Even though this is one of the most classic Italian recipes, variants do exist. Here’s some:

  • Risotto cacio e pepe
  • Spaghetti cacio e pepe with truffle
  • Spaghetti cacio e pepe with bacon

Can I store it?

We highly recommend you eat the dish at the moment, to better taste the ingredients and fully enjoy it. If you want to make this dish in advance, you can eat it the day after storing in the refrigerator stored in a container or in a plate, well wrapped. The consistency will be different, and not ideal, after being in the fridge but it is completely edible!

More pasta dishes

If you want to dive more into Italian pasta dishes, we recommend you have a look at this delicious Amatriciana-style vegetarian pasta. A second vegetarian option is our Vegetarian lasagna. The classic lasagna contains minced meat but we replaced it with texturized soy.

An authentic and highly recommended dish from the South is Broccoli rabe orecchiette. In Apulia, it is absolutely a must.


Have you ever made and eaten this dish? Do you like the classic version or some variants? Let us know in the comments!

spaghetti cacio e pepe

Spaghetti cacio e pepe

Spaghetti cacio e pepe is a simple dish, made with only two main ingredients. It is one of the most classic dishes from Rome.
5 from 10 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people
Calories 529 kcal

Equipment

  • Saucepan
  • Pan

Ingredients
 
 

  • 360 grams spaghetti
  • black pepper freshly ground
  • 200 grams Pecorino romano grated
  • salt

Instructions
 

  • Bring water to a boil. To make sure the cooking water is very starchy, use much less water than you would normally use for cooking spaghetti.
  • When boiling, add salt to taste. Then add spaghetti and cook very much al dente (so a little raw still).
  • In the meanwhile, take a generous amount (at least 1 tbsp) of ground black pepper. Toast the pepper on a large pan over medium-low heat. Then add two ladles of cooking water of the spaghetti.
  • When the spaghetti are done, drain them, saving all the cooking water.
  • Add the spaghetti into the pan with the pepper. Mix the spaghetti well and add some more cooking water if the pan is dry.
  • While cooking the spaghetti on the pan, add half of the Pecorino romano in a small bowl.
  • Add one ladle of the cooking water into the bowl and whisk to create a cream. If needed, add a bit more cooking water. Then whisk in the rest of the Pecorino (save a small amount). Finally, if needed, add more cooking water to finally create a creamy texture without lumps.
  • Once the pasta is cooked, add the cream into the pan, turn off the heat and mix extremely well. Then add the remaining amount of Pecorino, mix, and serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 529kcalCarbohydrates: 69gProtein: 28gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 52mgSodium: 799mgPotassium: 250mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 210IUCalcium: 553mgIron: 2mg

Caution

Nutritional information shall not be used for medical reasons.

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