Cacio E Pepe

August 15, 2021mayurisjikoni




Cacio E Pepe is the easiest, yummiest spaghetti dish and it hardly takes more than 20 minutes to prepare it. Just a few ingredients and a creamy, flavourful meal is ready in a matter of minutes. This pasta dish is not heavily coated with sauce. A creamy sauce just about coats the pasta.

What is Cacio E Pepe?

Literally when translated to English it means a cheese and pepper pasta. Yup, simple as that. This creamy pasta is very much a part of the Roman Cuisine. However, one cannot use any cheese, it has to be Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano.  Why only those cheeses? Well, it is the sharp nutty flavours of these cheeses that adds flavour to the pasta.

By the way, the difference between both the cheeses is the milk used to make it. Mostly sheep milk is used for Pecorino Romano and Cow’s milk for Parmigiano Reggiano (parmesan). Did you know that Pecorino Romano dates back to the Roman Times?

As very few ingredients are used to make this pasta dish, it is imperative to use freshly ground coarse black pepper. It is quite difficult for me to describe the flavours that this pasta dish tantalizes ones taste buds.


Sunday Funday

Sunday Funday is a group of Food Bloggers. Every Sunday we  share some fun, traditional, hearty or easy recipes to make Sunday Family Meals a bit more exciting. To join this fun group, visit the Sunday Funday Facebook Page. Request to join in.

Theme: Roman Or Italian Recipes as a Tribute to Augustus Caesar, Namesake of August

For this week Sue who blogs at Palatable Pastimes suggested we share a Roman or Italian Recipe as a tribute to Augustus Caesar after whom the month of August is named.

As a matter of fact, August was originally called Sextillia, the Roman word for sixth. Yes back then it was the sixth month. In 8 BCE, the month was named in honor of Augustus Caesar, the first Roman emperor. Confusion arose when Julius Caesar added January and February to the Roman Calendar.

Some Of My Favourite Dishes From The Italian Cuisine:

Biscotti Regina – Italian Sesame Seed Cookies

Pane di Zucca – Pumpkin Bread

Affogato – Italian Coffee Dessert

Vanilla Chia Panna Cotta – with chocolate sauce, its pure indulgence

Lasagna With Chickpeas – famous pasta dish from Calabria Region of Italy

Rustico – pastries from Apulia or Puglia region, filled with tomato sauce, mozzarella and béchamel  sauce.

Zaletti – lemony cornmeal cookies from the Veneto Region of Italy.

Check Out How Fellow Bloggers Have Made For This Theme:

For this theme I had two options:

The first attempt was a failure and I was feeling so bad because back then I paid quite a bit for the Pecorino Romano cheese. Not commonly found in the supermarkets in Mombasa, I had bought it from the only Italian shop. So you can imagine how costly it must have been. The idea of retrying this recipe was all forgotten after hubby and I had to eat the clumpy spaghetti. Definitely didn’t have the heart to throw away expensive cheese!

Then Sue suggested this theme. Being in Montreal where Pecorino Romano Cheese is a bit expensive compared to other cheeses but at least not paying the earth for it, I thought “lets try the pasta dish again.” And so glad I did, the maritozzi can wait for a while.


What Made The Difference?

Before embarking on making this simple pasta dish, I went through several Cacio E Pepe recipes to get that perfect creamy sauce that clings to the spaghetti and doesn’t clump up. Most recipes didn’t have many tips. However, I came across the recipe on Ali’s blog Gimme Some Oven. I read and re-read all her tips, jotted them down and armed with that headed to the kitchen. Hey presto! It worked perfectly well for me.


My Version of Cacio E Pepe:

Traditionally, no butter, olive oil or garlic is used but I added butter as Ali suggested. Also to add a bit more flavour, I sautéed chopped garlic in olive oil and added it to the linguine.

Many people deviate from the traditional recipe and add bacon, sausages, salmon, shrimp, chopped tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, bell pepper, zucchini, basil, parsley, mushrooms, etc.

Ingredients Required For Cacio E Pepe Spaghetti:

  • Pasta – best to use bucatini, linguine, spaghetti. I used linguine.
  • Salt – use sea salt or any salt of your choice. Add a bit more than usual so that the pasta takes up the salt. Don’t need to add more salt later.
  • Water – to boil the pasta. It is best not to use too much water as we need starchy water to add to the boiled pasta. I kept stirring the pasta as it was boiling so that it does not stick together. For about 8oz linguine I added only 4½ cups of water. Save 2 cups of starchy water when the pasta has reached the al dente stage.
  • Butter – this is one of the secret ingredient suggested by Ali and it does work wonders to create that creamy sauce.
  • Pecorino Romano Cheese – or use Parmigiano Reggiano (parmesan). Both, must be freshly grated.
  • Black Pepper – freshly ground is the best. I prefer to use coarsely ground pepper. If you wish you can use finely ground.
  • Olive Oil – use good quality Olive oil.
  • Garlic – peeled and finely chopped or sliced. This ingredient is totally optional. Use sparingly as you don’t want the garlic to overpower the flavours of pepper and cheese.


5 from 14 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course, Main Meal
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4


  • 8 oz linguine, bucatini or spaghetti
  • cups water
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp coarse pepper powder freshly ground/cracked
  • 2 cloves garlic finely sliced or chopped
  • 1 cup pecorino romano freshly grated


  • Add the water in a deep saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat.
  • Add salt and mix well.
  • Add the liguine, bucatini or spaghetti.
  • Cook till the pasta is al dente. This means that it still has a bit of bite but is not raw. In between keep stirring the pasta gently as we have used less water.
  • Remove 2 cups of the starchy water and keep it on the side.
  • Drain out the pasta and remaining water into a colander.
  • Wipe the saucepan clean.
  • Add olive oil and place the pan over medium heat.
  • Add garlic and saute it for a few seconds. Don't allow it to burn.
  • Add pepper powder and give it a good stir.
  • Take the pan off the heat.


  • To the saucepan with olive oil, garlic and pepper in it, add the boiled linguine or pasta you have used.
  • Add the butter and 1 cup of starchy water.
  • Toss well till the butter melts.
  • Now add ½ cup more of the starchy water and the grated cheese.
  • Toss it well, till the cheese melts and the sauce coats the linguine or pasta.
  • If required, can add remaining water little at a time. I added just ¼ cup more.


  • Serve hot cacio e pepe with extra grated cheese and pepper on top. Or add any vegetable, meat or fresh herbs on top.


  • Use less water so that you get nice starchy water for the sauce.
  • Use freshly ground or cracked black pepper.
  • Don't over boil the pasta otherwise it will become mushy.
  • Toss well with tongs or a spoon when you add the cheese and starchy water.
  • Don't skip the butter as that also helps to make the sauce creamy.
Keyword Cacio E Pepe recipe, Cacio E Pepe Spaghetti, How to prepare perfect cacio e pepe

Pin For Later:

A little request:

If you do try this recipe then please either

  • add a comment below,
  • send a picture to my email
  •  tag me as #mayuri_jikoni on Instagram
  • or tag me on Twitter as #Mayuri1962




  • Karen

    August 15, 2021 at 10:12 pm

    Gorgeous! I love those big chunks of pepper in there! This is a dish I’ve always wanted to try. I don’t know what I’m waiting for!!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 15, 2021 at 7:17 pm

      Karen, thank you so much, go ahead and make it, easy peasy and so delicious.

  • Wendy Klik

    August 16, 2021 at 6:55 am

    Great minds Mayuri. I did not add garlic to mine and it was delicious but I did think to myself that it would be even better with garlic.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 16, 2021 at 8:00 pm

      Thanks Wendy, great minds for sure. The Indian in me always wants that extra taste, be it garlic or chilis.. 🙂

  • Seema Sriram

    August 23, 2021 at 1:46 am

    5 stars
    This is such a brilliant flavours of pecorino romano for the linguine. I love such styles of pasta, not drowned in some generic tomato sauce.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 23, 2021 at 1:10 pm

      Thanks Seema and I totally agree with you, hate drowning pasta with some generic sauce.

  • Amrita Roy

    August 23, 2021 at 7:16 am

    5 stars
    This looks an easy recipe and as you explained the details of cacio e pepe I am sure it’s going to be even easier to make the dish…love the addition of butter and garlic

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 23, 2021 at 1:06 pm

      Thank you so much Amrita. It has become one of our favourite way to enjoy pasta.

  • Jayashree T.Rao

    August 23, 2021 at 8:25 am

    5 stars
    Cacio-e-pepe looks delicious and easy to make. With butter and pepper, it must be tasting so good. Love these kind of fuss free recipes.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 23, 2021 at 1:04 pm

      Thank you so much Jayashree, the star ingredient in this spaghetti is the cheese which makes all the difference.

  • Rebekah R Hills

    August 23, 2021 at 2:46 pm

    What a lovely pasta dish – I am definitely in need of pasta after looking through all the Italian/Roman dishes from this theme!!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 25, 2021 at 2:21 pm

      Thanks Rebekah, try this one out, its so easy and delicious.

  • Kalyani

    August 23, 2021 at 8:02 pm

    5 stars
    Perfectly made cacio de pepe. The peppery burst of flavours must be so inviting there.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 23, 2021 at 11:19 pm

      Thank you Kalyani, not only the pepper but the cheese too.

  • Archana

    August 23, 2021 at 11:39 pm

    5 stars
    Such a yum looking pasta cacio de pepe! Totally new to me and I absolutely wish I can dig in this yum pasta.
    I think you cannot substitute the recommended cheese here, am I correct?

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 25, 2021 at 2:19 pm

      Thank you so much Archana. And I agree with you, you cannot replace the cheese as that not only gives you the flavour but also melts in an ideal way as to not make the pasta stringy. I had tried previously with some generic parmesan cheese and it didn’t turn out good.

  • Preethicuisine

    August 24, 2021 at 7:30 am

    5 stars
    Cacio E Pepe sounds so flavourful and Delish. I would to enjoy this creamy delicious pasta loaded with cheese and pepper. Bookmarking this recipe.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 25, 2021 at 2:18 pm

      Thank you so much Preethi. Please give a feedback as to how it turned out for you.

  • Sowmya

    August 25, 2021 at 1:28 am

    5 stars
    That is such an easy and tasty pasta dish! The best part is it can easily be made with ingredients all readily available at home. Just perfect !

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 25, 2021 at 2:15 pm

      Thank you so much Sowmya. Yes if your follow the simple tips it turns out great.

  • Bless my food by Payal

    August 28, 2021 at 12:48 pm

    5 stars
    This is such a delicious and easy pasta recipe which is not loaded with too many sauces and this makes it totally different from other pasta recipes. Splendid.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 29, 2021 at 2:26 pm

      Thank you so much Shailender. It is a fuss free pasta dish and now I understand why is a recipe that goes back a long time ago. The cheese and starchy water does the trick.

  • Lata Lala

    August 30, 2021 at 2:17 am

    5 stars
    Cacio E Pepe sounds so flavourful, easy to make and delicious. I would to enjoy this creamy delicious pasta with toasted Garlic bread. The plus point is it’s not smothered with many sauces so you won’t feel heavy after having this.
    Fabulous recipe.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      August 30, 2021 at 3:29 pm

      Thank you so much Lata, it does become a bit filling because of the butter and cheese.

  • hem lata srivastava

    September 1, 2021 at 5:46 am

    5 stars
    Too good, I really admire your work, your recipes are always new to me. In my house we make spaghetti or pasta once in a month or so and this cacio E Pepe is looking so perfect and delicious will try to it.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      September 1, 2021 at 7:04 pm

      Thank you so much Hem Lata, but make sure you use parmesan cheese.

  • Avin Kohli

    September 1, 2021 at 6:54 am

    5 stars
    The pasta looks so cheesy and good. Its often the simple recipes that are the most pleasurable. The freshly crushed pepper must make it even better.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      September 1, 2021 at 7:03 pm

      Thanks Avin, agree with you that sometimes the simplest recipes are the most tastiest. And Cacio E Pepe for sure is.

  • Pavani

    September 4, 2021 at 12:05 am

    5 stars
    What a creamy and delicious pasta dish. My pasta loving kids will love this dish. Thanks for the recipe, can’t wait to try.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      September 5, 2021 at 12:30 am

      Thanks Pavani. Enjoy when you try out the recipe.

  • Poonam bachhav

    September 5, 2021 at 1:15 pm

    5 stars
    Cacio e pepe looks simply irresistible with the flavors coming from pepper and cheese! I am sure my boy would love this cheesy treat for sure.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      September 5, 2021 at 4:52 pm

      Thank you so much Poonam.

  • Sandhya Ramakrishnan

    September 7, 2021 at 9:48 am

    5 stars
    The recipe might look very easy to just read but thanks to all your notes that I was able to make the perfect tasting and perfect feeling pasta. Loved the cheesy pasta with a good amount of pepper.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      September 10, 2021 at 10:09 pm

      Thank you so much Sandhya for trying out the recipe. The first time I made it, it was a mess. One has to follow the tips for that creamy sauce.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Post Next Post

Example Colors

%d bloggers like this: