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Spaghetti with Pecorino Romano and black pepper (Cacio e Pepe)


Bucatini pasta

Bucatini pasta

Cacio e pepe with Buccatini pasta

Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best. Like this one called “Cacio e Pepe” which translates into “Spaghetti with Pecorino Romano and black pepper”.

I had been wanting to make this pasta for a while, and when I saw it on a restaurant menu while visiting Rome with family this summer, I knew it was for me. I wasn’t disappointed.

The trick is using the best ingredients, so that’s what I did. Here’s how I recreated this memorable dish.

Spaghetti with Pecorino Romano and black pepper (Cacio e Pepe)

I adapted this recipe slightly from Cooks Illustrated.

This tasted exactly like what I had in Rome. High quality ingredients are essential in this dish. The instructions are detailed.


8 oz. total sheep’s milk Pecorino Romano cheese: 4 or so ounces finely grated (about 2 cups) and 3 oz. coarsely grated (about 1-1/2 cups)

12-16 oz. spaghetti (I used 12 oz. Bucatini pasta)  x


2-3 tablespoons whipping cream

2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons finely ground black pepper


Set a colander in large bowl.

Bring 2 quarts water to boil in large pot.

Add pasta and 1-1/2 teaspoons salt.

Cook, stirring frequently, until al dente, about 12 minutes.
Drain pasta into colander set in bowl and reserve cooking water.

Pour 1-1/2 cups of that cooking water into measuring cup and discard remainder.

Return pasta to empty hot bowl.

Slowly whisk 1 cup reserved pasta cooking water into finely grated cheese until smooth. Whisk in cream, oil and pepper.

Gradually pour cheese mixture over pasta, tossing to coat.

Let sit a couple of minutes, tossing frequently, adjusting consistency if needed with more of the reserved pasta water. (I didn’t have to do that since I only used 12 oz.).

Serve, garnished with chopped parsley if you like, passing coarsely grated cheese separately. Serves 4-6

Tip from Rita’s kitchen: why only 2 quarts water?

You need starchier water, which helps coat the pasta.

Permanent link to this article: http://abouteating.com/spaghetti-with-pecorino-romano-and-black-pepper-cacio-e-pepe/

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