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Cacio e pepe is a simple, authentic Italian pasta dish made with just four ingredients in 20 minutes. It's delicious, flavourful and easy to make. |

Cacio e Pepe

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5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Sam Hu | Ahead of Thyme
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Cacio e pepe is a simple, authentic Italian pasta dish made with just four ingredients in 20 minutes. It's delicious, flavourful and so easy to make. 


  • 4 ounces dry pasta (bucatini, spaghetti or linguine)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (or Pecorino cheese), freshly grated


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium high heat. Add pasta and cook until just al dente (fully cooked but still firm), about 8 minutes. Turn off the heat and set the pot aside. Do not overcook the pasta.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, melt butter in a shallow saucepan over medium-high heat. Add black pepper and sauté until fragrant, about one minute. Add 1/3 cup of the hot pasta water and stir vigorously to combine. A vigorous whisking emulsifies fat from the butter and pasta water, creating a creamy sauce.
  3. Turn the heat down to low and transfer the hot pasta into the saucepan. Stir in cheese and stir well to combine, about one minute. The melted cheese makes the sauce thicker and more creamy. Add 2-3 tablespoons pasta water and mix well until desired consistency is reached.
  4. Serve immediately on a plate and garnish with extra pepper and cheese if desired.


How to customize. You can customize cacio e pepe by adding in cooked meat such as chicken, shrimp, or bacon. You can also add in cooked vegetables such as mushrooms, zucchini, red peppers, or spinach.

How to serve. Serve cacio e pepe pasta with a side of crusty garlicky bread such as pull apart garlic bread, rosemary garlic focaccia bread, ciabatta bread, or tomato focaccia bread. You can also pair it with a fresh salad on the side such as an easy Greek salad, Mediterranean chickpea wedge salad, or tomato cucumber avocado salad.

How to store. Cacio e pepe is best served fresh. Store any leftovers an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Reheat on the stove over medium-low heat until warmed through. You may need to add a splash of water if the sauce has thickened up too much in the refrigerator.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian