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Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe

This is a recipe that we have made in our family for many years--everyone loves it. It's a very basic and easy variation on mac 'n cheese.

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Ingredients

4
Original recipe yields 4 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until tender yet firm to the bite, about 10 minutes. Scoop out some of the cooking water and reserve. Drain spaghetti.

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  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and pepper; cook and stir until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add spaghetti and Pecorino Romano cheese. Ladle in 1/2 cup of reserved cooking water; stir until cheese is melted, about 1 minute. Add more cooking water until sauce coats spaghetti, about 1 minute more.

Cook's Notes:

Substitute butter for the olive oil if preferred. For a thicker or thinner sauce, adjust how much pasta water you add. If you add too much water, add some more cheese.

I have added other ingredients depending on my main dish to enhance flavors (like pancetta); I always experiment when creating food.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving:
806.5 calories; protein 31.6g 63% DV; carbohydrates 87.8g 28% DV; fat 36g 55% DV; cholesterol 54.1mg 18% DV; sodium 632.7mg 25% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (208)

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Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
11/27/2017
This is a classic Italian recipe. My family is from the Italian Alps and use Dairy products profusely in cooking. This is a go to for me when I have left over pasta. Use SALTED BUTTER and FRY pasta in butter until crispy (takes about 10-15 mins) and then add black pepper. It’s a great stand alone or side dish. BTW, I freeze our extra pasta over time and when I have enough saved I fry it up. This doesn’t require all of the pasta to be the same (linguine, penne, spaghetti, etc) all marry well and are used in one simple and delicious dish. Read More
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Helpful
(175)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 2 stars
08/03/2017
I made a huge mistake when I made this. I made it with thin wheat spaghetti. I should have used regular so unless you want a mucky mess, use regular spaghetti. Read More
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Helpful
(20)
265 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 185
  • 4 star values: 58
  • 3 star values: 14
  • 2 star values: 3
  • 1 star values: 5
Rating: 5 stars
11/27/2017
This is a classic Italian recipe. My family is from the Italian Alps and use Dairy products profusely in cooking. This is a go to for me when I have left over pasta. Use SALTED BUTTER and FRY pasta in butter until crispy (takes about 10-15 mins) and then add black pepper. It’s a great stand alone or side dish. BTW, I freeze our extra pasta over time and when I have enough saved I fry it up. This doesn’t require all of the pasta to be the same (linguine, penne, spaghetti, etc) all marry well and are used in one simple and delicious dish. Read More
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Helpful
(175)
Rating: 5 stars
04/17/2016
Super simple and quick to make! If you're a college student like I am, this is a thousand times better than ramen! I just added a pinch or two of red pepper flakes to add some heat and voíla! Read More
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Helpful
(61)
Rating: 5 stars
05/04/2017
This dish is easy to make, and it's delicious! I bought a Kitchenaid Pasta Press, and I have been experimenting with a variety of recipes. This one is a keeper! I added Aleppo pepper at the end for a bit of heat. A good quality olive oil is a must for this recipe. I use extra virgin olive oil from California Olive Ranch. For this recipe, I used the mild and buttery profile. I buy a wedge of pecorino romano and grate it myself. The recipe is really good with store bought spaghetti, but fresh spaghetti takes it over the top! Read More
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Helpful
(45)
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Rating: 2 stars
08/03/2017
I made a huge mistake when I made this. I made it with thin wheat spaghetti. I should have used regular so unless you want a mucky mess, use regular spaghetti. Read More
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Helpful
(20)
Rating: 4 stars
09/29/2017
This is a variation on the classic Roman dish except the Romans don't add garlic. The name is cacio e pepe: cheese and pepper. The addition of garlic changes the dish but it is still tasty. This was a Friday night meal in our house growing up. It is meatless and inexpensive. Thanks for submitting your rendition. Read More
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Helpful
(18)
Rating: 5 stars
09/20/2017
We're Italian. This is the way an Italian recipe should be: simple with the right ingredients. Don't add or subtract anything just use genuine oil and cheese. Butter in not in the original recipe. Read More
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Helpful
(17)
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Rating: 4 stars
08/07/2016
Thank you for this recipe! I'm having one of those, no money till payday what can I make with stuff already in my kitchen, type of days. I wasn't able to make this exact. But it turned out great. I had penne not spaghetti. I didn't have any garlic. I had grated parmesan and shredded parmesan. I added some leftover sautéed peppers and onions to the oil. Then I added in the noodles, cheese, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and more black pepper. I ate this with some leftover chicken and steamed broccoli. I wasn't able to make exact but this recipe saved the day! Read More
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Helpful
(16)
Rating: 5 stars
05/20/2016
Added butter to oil and parsley and red flakes for more flavour Read More
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Helpful
(15)
Rating: 4 stars
02/03/2019
Very tasty. Easy & quick to make. Goes good with a nice Pinot Grigio. Note: When adding the Romano, add only a little at a time, allowing each addition to melt. Otherwise it melts into a big glob. Read More
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Helpful
(15)
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Summary | 2 Annotations
Directions Instructions Checklist Step 1 Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until tender yet firm to the bite, about 10 minutes. Scoop out some of the cooking water and reserve. Drain spaghetti. Advertisement Step 2 Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and pepper; cook and stir until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add spaghetti and Pecorino Romano cheese. Ladle in 1/2 cup of reserved cooking water; stir until cheese is melted, about 1 minute. Add more cooking water until sauce coats spaghetti, about 1 minute more.
2020/10/08 12:07
Cook's Notes: Substitute butter for the olive oil if preferred. For a thicker or thinner sauce, adjust how much pasta water you add. If you add too much water, add some more cheese. I have added other ingredients depending on my main dish to enhance flavors (like pancetta); I always experiment when creating food.
2020/10/08 12:07