Thursday, April 21, 2016


Cacio e pepe is a quick and super easy Roman pasta dish. You can make this dinner in under 30 minutes. Italian-Americans usually add butter to this recipe but Italians in Italy would never do this. The creaminess comes from the Pecorino Romano cheese and some of the pasta cooking water. Cacio e pepe translates to ‘cheese and pepper’. If you want to add butter, add 2 tablespoons to the sauce at the end. I used the traditional bucatini pasta for this dish, which is a hollow version of spaghetti; it’s like a straw with a tiny hole. The name comes from the Italian word buco, meaning hole.

1 cup (250 ml) grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 to 2 T (15 to 30 ml) freshly cracked black pepper
1 T (15 ml) sea salt
8 oz (250 g) bucatini or spaghetti

Pour grated cheese and black pepper into a small bowl and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add the salt.
Boil pasta until al dente (bucatini takes about 10 to 11 minutes and spaghetti takes 7 to 8 minutes).

In a large skillet, large enough to hold the pasta, pour in the Pecorino and black pepper.
When pasta is finished cooking to al dente, reserve 2 cups (500 ml) of the pasta cooking water.
Drain pasta in a colander and add 1 cup (250 ml) of the pasta water to the skillet with the cheese and black pepper.
Over medium-low heat, mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon to make a creamy sauce.
Add a little more water if sauce seems to dry.
Add pasta the skillet and toss with tongs to completely combine and heat through.

Divide between two warm pasta bowls and serve with additional cheese, if desired.

Serves 2

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