Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe

Over the summer, I took a girls overnight trip to NYC with my mom, sister, and daughter.  We had dinner at this amazing restaurant called //Cacio e Pepe//, and the whole reason we went was so we could eat… cacio e pepe.  I had seen some //videos on Instagram// of them mixing up the pasta in a giant wheel of Parmesan cheese and knew I had to have a dish.  The best part – my daughter got her own plate and she actually liked it!

So when I found this recipe by //smitten kitchen//, I knew I had to try it.

As much as I love everything smitten kitchen, I wasn’t sure I would be 100% sold on this recipe.  Would it even measure up to the cacio e pepe I had in NYC?  And also the last 4 recipes I’ve made were good but there was always something I wanted to change or tweak with them.  Well this recipe??  I wouldn’t change a single thing!


This recipe is absolutely perfection the way it is.  Like Deb says in her post, I was not even sure how pasta water, olive oil, and cheese would all come together and make a delicious, creamy, cheesy sauce, but with some kind of kitchen science wizardry, it does.  I was never a fan of adding pasta water to sauces, as I prefer thick, creamy sauces – but I am now a believer in that starchy cooking water.

My husband is not a pasta eater, and even HE said “Wow, this is good.”

My daughter IS a pasta eater, but she said “Meh, it’s too peppery.”  She’s silly.  The one she ate in NYC had giant cracked peppercorns in it.  Maybe she flicked them all off though.  It is NOT too peppery.  It was just right.

This recipe is officially on the rotation in my house.  It was so easy to make, and it tasted so much like the one I had in NYC; it transported me right back there.  Please go check out smitten kitchen’s blog, she is a true inspiration to me.  And you definitely need to make this pasta!

Cacio e Pepe
Serves 4-6

1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound dried spaghetti
2 tablespoons butter
4 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated
1 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
Salt (optional)
1 1/2 cups reserved pasta cooking water

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a small handful of salt. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions. When the spaghetti is finished cooking, BEFORE DRAINING, measure out 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water and set aside. Drain the pasta and return the pot to the stove.

2. In the same pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add pasta back to the pot, and add about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Deb warns in her recipe it may splatter mightily, but I did not heat my oil that hot, so I did not experience this. But be warned, it could happen. Add the butter, 3 ounces of the cheese, and the ground pepper, and toss with tongs to combine. Be patient, it will come together. Keep tossing until it turns cheesy and delicious. Add more cheese if you’d like, or you can top each portion with some of the cheese just before serving.