Oh my goodness is this good and easy!  Recipes like Cacio e Pepe make me question ever attempting complicated dishes when you have ones like this that are so simple, yet produce such a satisfying meal.

Cacio e Pepe, or cheese and pepper pasta, brings together a mere four ingredients- spaghetti, olive oil, pepper, and grated cheese- to create a creamy pasta dish.  Reading through the recipe you may be a little skeptical. Really, the olive oil and pasta water are going to mix with the cheese and pepper to make a sauce? Yes. It’s going to happen. Even when you’re cooking and it feels like it’s not going to come together- it does.

I’m so obsessed with this dish right now, I’m planing to host a dinner party and serve it as the main entrée.  That said, it takes just 30 minutes to prepare, thus making it perfect for a lazy week night meal.  Enjoy!

Cacio e Pepe slightly adapted from Saveur

Serves 4

sea salt, to taste
1 lb. thick spaghetti
4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper, plus more for serving
1 3/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (good quality!)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling drop your pasta and cook until al dente, 8–10 minutes. Reserve 3/4 cup pasta water and drain pasta.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add pepper and cook until fragrant, 1–2 minutes. Pour 3⁄4 cup pasta water into skillet and bring to a boil. Using tongs, transfer pasta from your colander to the skillet. Toss gently with the water and oil, coating the noodles. Then sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups grated parm and a large pinch of sea salt (or kosher salt) and toss well, swirling the pasta around the pan for 1-2 minutes until sauce is creamy and clings to pasta. Place pasta in a large serving dish, sprinkle with remaining parm and a little extra pepper.  Serve immediately.

  1. jon

    I like your simplicity philosophy; entices even a geezer like me to want to try each recipe. :) Yummy dishes too.

  2. Yum! So simple yet I could taste it even as I was looking through your beautiful pictures. :)

    • Oh, thank you! I’d imagine it would be easy to just sub in gf noodles to make it gluten free!

  3. This looks far too easy. Especially considering I think I have all of those ingredients at home already. (Okay, not good quality parmesan, but I do have cheese.) Perhaps this will be on the menu tomorrow.

  4. This looks delicious, and perfect since I haven’t done a weekly menu in ages but have all the ingredients already! It blew my mind to see Contessa “grate” parm by processing chunks in a food processor recently … thus eliminating the worst part of fresh parm. So easy!! (Good luck with the dinner party!)

  5. My mom used to make it with just butter and lots of garlic. And put cheese on at the table.

  6. Elizabeth: I know it seems too easy, but it’s sooo good! But lady, you need real cheese :)/

    Leanne: I have seen her do that too! Such a great tip. I should remember to do that more often.

    Sizzle: I read a ton of variations for the recipe, and some do have butter. I’d imagine that’d be quite delicious!

  7. Clara – your images have just moved me more than you could ever know. They are awesome and delicious and wonderfull!

    I just got done with 3 twelve hr watches on the waterfront and am now cooking – Gumbo. Your food and images and recipes move me and I thank you! I can’t wait to try this one!!

    Have a great day.
    Best Regards
    jim

  8. katcollins

    Love it! I’m going to give a spin tonight, but adding spinach and cheese chicken sausage to it. Right up my alley.

    Kat

    • Sounds wonderful! The chicken and spinach will pair well with the all that pepper.

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  11. I am making this, tonight! My husband is out of town and some indulgent pasta and a nice glass (bottle) of wine while I get some blog work done will be the *perfect* evening!

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