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Tuesday
May312011

Cacio e Pepe (Pasta with Cheese and Pepper)

Here is your summer side dish for grilled meats. This simple pasta dish of cheese and cracked black pepper is one of my family's favorites. If you've ever been to Rome, you will see this dish on practically every menu.  It is simple and fast to make. Once your water is boiling, it is a 5 minute preparation.

You will see variations of this dish with butter or garlic or onion - none of them belong in true Cacio e Pepe. Keep it simple and use the best Pecorino cheese you can find and fragrant peppercorns.  With so few ingredients, the quality will make the difference.

I was talking with someone the other day about starch sides - potatoes, rice, etc. I mentioned that the only starch my family likes as a side dish is pasta and this person said they never thought about using pasta as a side dish, only a main entree.  I was a little surprised.  If you are one of those people. try pasta as a side dish this summer. I figure about 1-1/2 ounces of dry pasta per person as a side. 

 ,

Cacio e Pepe 

for a printable recipe, click here

serves 5-6 as a side or first course

Ingredients: 

  • 8 ounces spaghetti
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons cracked fresh pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

 

Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese and cracked black pepper 
are the flavors of this dish

 

Instructions:

Bring a heavy pot of salted water to a boil and boil the spaghetti until al dente.  (I use Barilla thin spaghetti and after it comes to a boil, I cook it for exactly 4 minutes, less than what the package instructions are).

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet with the olive oil.  Add the cracked pepper and gently saute for a couple of minutes. 

With tongs, remove the boiled pasta and place right into the skillet (do not drain the  pasta water).  Swirl to coat with the olive oil and pepper. Add the cheese and continue swirling the pasta to coat with the cheese.  Add a tablespoon or two of the hot pasta water and continue to coat the pasta.  

Serve immediately.

 

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Reader Comments (54)

I was looking for a quick pasta recipe that didn't have garlic (my husband hates when I smell up the house!) and this was perfect. I added some red pepper, fresh basil and a little sea salt on the assembled dish. Wonderful! Thank you.

May 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercindy

Love this dish and always have it when I'm in Rome .. however, when I try to do it at home the cheese always clumps together .. what am ai doing wrong?

July 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSharon

This is my most favorite dish of all time! I have to admit, I add minced garlic while toasting the pepper. I love garlic too much not too! I use the Pecorino Romano to make the sauce, but I garnish with Parmigiana Reggiano. Parmigiana Reggiano is my son's and my go to cheese, a must have for any reason we can come up with! We even slice it thin for homemade pizzas and just as a snack by itself. My son is only 12, but he has refined taste buds. I can see him growing up to be a gourmet cook for his wife, and mama of course. ;) thank you for sharing!

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer Y

Just saw this recipe on a TV show about Italy, no oil or butter or cream was used, nothing to thin the taste, they relied on the pasta water to melt the finely shredded hard cheese. I used to make pasta with a couple drops of oil in the boiling water until reading the oil coats the pasta, which doesn't allow anything else to soak in and flavor it. Ever since that I stopped adding oil to the water. Leftover pasta dishes taste much better!

April 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSusieHmMkr

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