The Legend of Cacio e Pepe

So simple, but so delicious, Roman Cacio e Pepe is an an iconic dish. Learn the story of its creation and then make the pasta.

The Legend of Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e pepe is a quick and tasty Roman dish. The origin of this recipe is very ancient. The secret of cacio e pepe is the creamy sauce, obtained by combining best quality Pecorino Romano and a few spoons of the water used to cook the pasta. The cheese and the starch in the cooking water are the only ingredients to make the original cacio e pepe sauce, forget butter or cream!

The Legend of Cacio e Pepe

The cacio e pepe recipe is one of the most ancient dish of the Italian cuisine. For centuries, cacio e pepe has been the perfect meal of the Roman shepherds. Dried pasta, aged pecorino and black peppers are easy-to-carry ingredients and hard to spoil. Despite what many people think, cacio e pepe recipe does not needs any oil, cream or butter. The starch inside the spaghetti and the grated pecorino, combined in the right way, are enough to create the cacio e pepe sauce. As in many Roman recipes, the pepper has to be very abundant.

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The Legend of Cacio e Pepe
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So simple, but so delicious, Roman Cacio e Pepe is an an iconic dish. Learn the story of its creation and then make the pasta.
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4 servings
  • 11 oz (320 g) spaghetti
  • 11/4 cups (125 g) Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 4 tsp black pepper, coarsely ground
  • 5 tbsp cooking salt
  1. First, place a pot with 5 quart of water and the cooking salt on high heat. Grate the Pecorino Romano with the Outward protruding holes with spiky edges on all sides: this because the cheese have to be grated into flakes as small as possible. Now, combine the grated pecorino with black pepper, coarsely ground at the moment. When the water is boiling, pour the spaghetti into the pot. To cook perfectly the pasta, the water have to strongly simmer.
  1. The secret of the cacio e pepe recipe is the creamy sauce. The worst thing that you can do at your cacio e pepe (and Italian people can’t tolerate!) , is add, butter or cream. To obtain the original cheese cream, follow this steps.
  2. Meanwhile the pasta is simmering, pour the grated pecorino and black pepper into a bowl big enough to contain spaghetti. When the pasta is cooked “al dente”, turn of the heat, and take an half ladle of spaghetti water and combine with cheese and pepper. Beat strongly the cheese with water to obtain the sauce. The cream have to be very smooth but not washy, if necessary add some more tablespoon of cooking water. When the cheese sauce is ready, drain and pour the spaghetti into the bowl and whisk strongly. Finish the dish with fresh grated Pecorino and black pepper, and serve quickly, otherwise the sauce become too thick!


Filippo Trapella

Born and raised in Bologna, Italy (hometown of lasagna and tortellini!), I grew up under the table of my grandmother helping her making fresh pasta for our Sunday feasts with the family. My passion for food stems from my curiosity, which has led me to travel around almost all continents (I still miss Oceania, but I hope to fill that gap soon!). During my trips I discovered the power of food. In my blog I write my recipes and my experiences around the world.

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