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Easy Cacio & Pepe Pasta

I have been making this pasta forever and am never disappointed.  With just a few ingredients- pasta, cheese, butter, olive oil, salt and ground pepper- you have a delicious dish.

The key is to cook thick spaghetti and assure it is al dente (has a small bite to it), then toss with all the ingredients very well.  You cannot be shy when tossing to assure everything works nicely together.

I usually make this for a starter course but it works just as well as a main course for weekend lunch or weekday dinner.

Easy Cacio & Pepe Pasta

I have been making this pasta forever and am never disappointed.  With just a few ingredients- pasta, cheese, butter, olive oil, salt and ground pepper- you have a delicious dish.

The key is to cook thick spaghetti and assure it is al dente (has a small bite to it), then toss with all the ingredients very well.  You cannot be shy when tossing to assure everything works nicely together.

I usually make this for a starter course but it works just as well as a main course for weekend lunch or weekday dinner.

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Ingredients

Recipe serves: 6-8 first course
1 pound thick spaghetti, known as spaghettoni
2 tablespoons butter
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups grated Pecorino Romanon cheese, plus a sprinkle for the finish
2 tablespoons ground pepper, more to taste and finish
salt for cooking water
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thoughts&stories

What type of cheese?

In this recipe I use Pecorino Romano cheese rather than Parmigiano Reggiano.  Pecorino is made with sheep’s milk whereas Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano) is made from cow’s milk.

A note:  Italians estimate about 100 grams  per person, about 4 ounces per person- 1 pound box serves 4 people, 500 gram bag serves about 4 people.  But if serving for as a starter, you may want to the portion size to be slightly smaller.  I often measure out the pasta (since shapes differ) onto the plate that will be used to “guess-timate” the right amount.  You also need to consider the heartiness of the sauce and determine if more or less should be served- lighter the sauce =  more, heavier a little less.

 

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Easy Cacio & Pepe Pasta
  • time
    20 minutes
  • serves
    6
  • skill level
    Easy

Ingredients

Directions

1
Done

Bring a large pot of water to a boil- 4 quarts (about 2 litres).

2
Done

Add a generous bit of salt- or a general rule is 1 heaping tablespoon for each pound of pasta. The water should be "slightly less salty than the sea."

3
Done

Add pasta to the water, stir and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes- but check after 6 minutes.

4
Done

A few minutes before the pasta is finished cooking, remove a mugful or cup of the pasta water. You can use this to loosen or bind the ingredients together when tossing at the end.

5
Done

While pasta is boiling, add butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil to a large saucepan. The saucepan or sauté pan should be large enough to hold all the pasta. If you do not have one large, use two small.

6
Done

Melt butter over gentle heat. Add the black fresh ground pepper.

7
Done

When pasta is done drain in colander.

8
Done

Add pasta to the butter, olive oil, pepper saucepan. Toss together until very well coated. If you need to coat more, add a tablespoon or two of the pasta water.

9
Done

Remove pan from heat, sprinkle in the pecorino cheese. Toss well again, taste, adjust any ingredients to your preference.

10
Done

Serve in a large warmed (you can just add a bit of hot water to bowl) serving bowl, or on individual plates. Sprinkle a bit more cheese and a grind of pepper before serving.