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Cacio e Pepe pasta in a black bowl
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Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe is comfort food at its best! This easy Italian dish is big on flavor with only a 4 simple ingredients ( pasta, cheese, butter and pepper). The magic happens by adding back some of the pasta cooking water to the cooked pasta and cracked pepper before adding in the cheese.  The cheese turns into a velvety cream when mixed with the hot pasta.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 307kcal

Ingredients

  • 8 oz dried Bucatini pasta or Spaghetti
  • 1 tsp coarsely ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter optional
  • 3/4 cups approx. 2 oz finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmesan)
  • 1 cup pasta water- divided reserve when cooking pasta

Instructions

  • Have ingredients prepped, measured out and ready to go. Grate the cheese, crack the pepper and measure out the butter.
  • Bring a large pot of salted *water to boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook according to package directions (We will be reserving some of the pasta water and removing pasta one minute before the recommended cooking time-see directions below)
  • If using butter- add butter and cracked pepper to a large sauce pan and heat over low heat until butter is melted (but not browned). Remove from heat. Set aside.
  • If not using butter- add cracked pepper to a large sauce pan and set aside.
  • When pasta is about 3 minutes from being fully cooked ladle about ½ cup of the pasta water into the saucepan with butter and pepper. Put pan back on low heat.
  • When pasta is about 1 minute from being fully cooked reserve about ½ -1 cup pasta water and drain the pasta. Add the drained pasta to the pan with butter, pepper and the previously added pasta water. Stir continuously until most of the pasta water has evaporated. Pasta should now be cooked “al dente”. (If necessary, add some of the reserved pasta water and continue cooking until pasta is “al dente”).
  • Remove pan from heat and add cheese, stirring constantly until cheese is fully incorporated (1-2 mins). If necessary, spoon in some of the reserved pasta water to thin the sauce. The sauce should cling to the pasta and be creamy but not watery.
  • Serve immediately, garnishing with additional cheese and pepper, if desired.

Notes

**I used 1 tsp of salt. You want the water to be well salted but oversalted as some of the pasta water will be mixed back in with the cooked pasta.
This recipe can easily be doubled. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 307kcal | Carbohydrates: 42.8g | Protein: 11.1g | Fat: 11.3g | Saturated Fat: 6.6g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 176mg | Potassium: 8.5mg | Fiber: 2.1g | Sugar: 1g