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+ servings

Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e pepe is essentially a grown up version of mac and cheese that is acceptable to order at a nice Italian restaurant and still seem like an adult.
Course pasta
Cuisine Italian
Keyword 30 minute meal, black pepper, butter, parmesan, pecorino, pepper, spaghetti
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 2


  • ½ pound spaghetti
  • teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • ½ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese


  • Bring a large pot of water to the boil; add the salt and bring back to the boil. Pour in the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until more al dente than normal since it will continue to cook later, about 6 minutes.
  • Drain the pasta, reserving a cup of the cooking liquid, and return the pasta to the pot. Toss the pasta in the olive oil to coat.
  • Heat a large flat-sided sauté pan over medium heat, add the butter and allow it to melt. Add the black pepper and let cook, stirring constantly, until the pepper is fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add ½ cup of the reserved pasta water and stir to combine. Then add the pasta, tossing to coat in the pepper mixture.
  • In a small bowl combine the grated pecorino and Parmesan and cheeses. Turn the heat off and slowly add the cheese about 2 tablespoons at a time, constantly tossing the pasta to coat.
  • If the sauce gets clumpy, add more of the cooking liquid a tablespoon at a time. Remove the pan from the heat and continue to toss until the pasta is entirely coated with the creamy cheese sauce.
  • Serve immediately in warmed pasta bowls.