It’s Time You Learned How To Make Cacio E Pepe

Life Writer
10.03.18 29 Comments
how to make cacio e pepe


Cacio e Pepe is a fundamental Roman dish. The recipe is very straightforward and requires only a few ingredients. Where the complication lies is in the execution of this one — you have to cook fast and with confidence. This isn’t an advanced ragu that has to simmer for a whole day. It’s a pretty basic buttery cheese sauce and cracked pepper base that really only takes about 12 minutes from start to finish.

It’s a bit mac ‘n cheese, a bit Carbonara, a bit spicy, and all good.

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Zach Johnston

Great food shines or dies by the ingredients you choose to use. If you’re making Cacio e Pepe, get the real stuff — otherwise, this recipe will fall flat.

You’ll need about one cup of real hard parmesan, 1/2 cup of pecorino, two spoons of unsalted butter, about two spoons of coarsely cracked pepper, and about a half package of good durum and semolina spaghetti. You’ll need water and salt to boil that pasta and that’s it.

You’ll also need a large pot to boil the pasta, a sauce pan to make the sauce and toss the noodles, and a set of tongs.

A quick note on the cheese: If you can, get a nicely aged parmesan chunk. 24 months is a good standard aging that’ll give you a light umami taste, creaminess, and a semi-coarse texture. 30 months will be sharper and harder. The pecorino should also be something you buy in a big ol’ chunk. The pecorino is a lighter, nuttier, smoother, and a more in-your-face umami cheese. Taste the parmesan and pecorino side by side when you start to get a sense of how divergent these cheeses are. The parmesan should be subtle while the pecorino should be robust.

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