Think of your favourite pasta dish – chances are, it’s a creamy and cheesy one. I know one or two of my favourites are! Cacio e Pepe has now officially entered the rankings as one of my favourite comfort dishes, hitting all of the notes of the best mac ‘n cheese without any of the faff.
This Cacio e Pepe recipe is simple as can be and comprises only 3 simple ingredients you can buy at any supermarket. Quick and easy, this recipe has rapidly become a new weeknight favourite. Ready in 20 minutes or less – could you ask for more?
Three simple ingredients
That’s all you need to make this!
- Black pepper
Use the best quality ingredients you can get your hands on, as always! Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano-Reggiano form the foundation of the dish and the sauce. The flavour of the two cheeses, plus the black pepper, is simply sublime. You’ll be wanting more with every bite!
You can use any long pasta you have on hand to make this – tonnarelli is traditional; however, linguine or spaghetti will do in a pinch.
This dish really comes together so quickly – you’ll combine the cheeses and pepper, make the pasta, toss the hot pasta with the cheese and pepper mixture, and finish everything off with a good glug of high-quality Italian olive oil.
Serve hot and fresh, and enjoy!
If you try this recipe, let us know how it goes! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag your photo #theculinarycartel on Instagram so we can see what you come up with. To view our recipe video on Instagram click here. Happy cooking!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I make the sauce smooth and creamy (cremina)?
The key to a silky smooth sauce (cremina in Italian), is to cook the pasta until al dente, and use the starchy pasta water to emulsify the sauce. Using tongs while tossing will greatly help ensure the success of this step.
Can I make Cacio e Pepe ahead of time?
Unfortunately, the answer here is no. This pasta is best served immediately, otherwise, the sauce will become dry or may split.
Why do you toast the peppercorns? Can I not use ground black pepper?
This dish relies on the ingredients shining at their best. Toasting the whole peppercorns in the pot you will use to cook the pasta takes an extra 2-3 minutes, and yields fragrant, floral peppery notes in the final dish.
Why do you suggest a microplane for the cheese?
A microplane will grate the cheese very finely, helping it incorporate better into the sauce.
Why do you use less water than usual cooking the pasta?
Less cooking liquid means your pasta water will be extra starchy, helping to emulsify the sauce.