A simple, delicious recipe for Cacio e Pepe – a fast and flavorful- four-ingredient pasta recipe that can be tossed with your favorite seasonal veggie and made in 20 minutes! 

A simple, delicious recipe for Cacio e Pepe - a fast and flavorful- four-ingredient Italian pasta recipe that can be topped with your favorite seasonal veggie (or protein!).

In Italian, Cacio e Pepe means “cheese and pepper”.  Although this dish seems very simple on the surface, it is incredibly flavorful and satisfying with just four ingredients!

Use it as a delicious base for seasonal vegetables – a great way to introduce new veggies into your household!

Pronounced kaa·chee·ow –ee-peh·peh, I often think of Cacio e Pepe as Italy’s version of mac and cheese- but so much lighter, simpler and faster than ours! 

Ways to enhance Cacio e Pepe

To bump up the nutrition, serve Cacio e Pepe with seasonal vegetables. Use what you have on hand. You could even toss the pasta with greens like arugula or spinach!

Top with pan-seared chicken, fish or shrimp.

Veggies to use in Cacio e Pepe

Use the pasta as a base for your veggies: 

TIP: Blanch quick-cooking veggies right in the pasta water at the end of cooking ( broccoli, asparagus, snow peas, English peas, edamame, fava beans!). In winter, roast cubes of roasted butternut; in summer, grill your veggies! More ideas include:

Ingredients in Cacio e Pepe

  • Pasta – good-quality spaghetti, linguini, bucatini or almost any pasta! Store-bought or homemade.
  • Olive oiluse a high-quality, flavorful but non-bitter olive oil
  • Pepper- fresh cracked pepper is a must!
  • Pecorino Cheese- or substitute part parmesan, but pecorino adds great depth of flavor. Vegans can try Vegan Cheesy Sprinkle

 

How to make Cacio e Pepe

STEP ONE: Cook the pasta in salted water-saving a cup of hot pasta water!

how to make cacio e Pepe

STEP TWO:  Saute fresh cracked pepper in a skillet with olive oil until fragrant.

STEP THREE:

Add the cooked pasta to the skillet.

STEP FOUR: 

Toss well!

STEP FIVE: 

Add the pecorino!

STEP SIX: 

Add hot pasta water to loosen and toss again!

A simple, delicious recipe for Cacio e Pepe - a fast and flavorful- four-ingredient pasta recipe that can be topped with your favorite seasonal veggie (or protein!).

STEP SEVEN: 

Add any veggies you like! Here we added blanched fava beans.

EXPERT TIP:

Feel free to toss in any blanch-able veggies- like broccoli florets, asparagus, snow peas, green beans, fava beans, edamame, even frozen peas, right into the pasta water, for the last few minutes of cooking.

Or, toss in a few handfuls of fresh greens- spinach, arugula, kale.

A simple, delicious recipe for Cacio e Pepe - a fast and flavorful- four-ingredient pasta recipe that can be topped with your favorite seasonal veggie (or protein!).

Garnish with more cheese and pepper if you like!

A simple, delicious recipe for Cacio e Pepe - a fast and flavorful- four-ingredient pasta recipe that can be topped with your favorite seasonal veggie (or protein!).

Have a wonderful weekend!

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A simple, delicious recipe for Cacio e Pepe - a fast and flavorful- four-ingredient pasta recipe that can be topped with your favorite seasonal veggie (or protein!).

Cacio e Pepe Recipe


Description

A simple, delicious recipe for Cacio e Pepe is so tasty you will want to make it over and over. Serve it with your favorite veggie for an added burst of nutrition.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 8 ounces linguini, spaghetti or bucatini (to make fresh pasta see notes below)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/21 teaspoon fresh ground black peppercorns, more to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded pecorino romano, more for serving ( or sub part parmesan)
  • Optional: garnish with chili flakes or aleppo pepper, parsley or basil.

Optional additions: Veggies (add to pasta water and blanch: broccoli, asparagus, snow peas, English peas, fava beans, edamame, etc. Or try roasted veggies (like asparagus, butternut or cauliflower)  or grilled veggies– see post above. Or toss in spinach, arugula or kale. Sometimes,  a little lemon zest is nice too. 😉


Instructions

  1. Cook Pasta in 8 cups of water with 1 teaspoon of salt– according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the fresh pepper and sauté for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the cooked pasta and any veggies you are using and toss well. Then add the grated pecorino and add 1/3- 1/2 cup pasta water to loosen and get it a little saucy.
  3. Taste for salt and pepper, adjust to taste. Add more pasta water, cheese or pepper if you like.
  4. To serve, divide, sprinkle each portion with more pecorino, and parsley and drizzle with olive oil.

Notes

NOTE: If using straight pecorino– keep in mind it is quite salty, so go lighter on the salt in the pasta water- 1 teaspoon salt per 8 cups of water. Pecorino is saltier than Parmesan, which adds nice depth here. Parmesan is tangier, less salty.

Vegan option: use vegan parmesan cheese, or vegan cheesy sprinkle

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 349
  • Sugar: 3.9 g
  • Sodium: 895.1 mg
  • Fat: 11.8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 49.9 g
  • Fiber: 4.3 g
  • Protein: 11.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 4.9 mg

Keywords: Cacio e Pepe, Cacio e Pepe Recipe, easy cacio e pepe recipe, best Cacio e Pepe

 

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Comments

  1. We LOVE cacio e pepe and have tried numerous recipes before noticing your recipe here. Yours is delicious! The only addition I made wad adding two drops of black pepper essential oil to the olive oil since we like it super peppery. Question: I always run into clumps, no matter how many different techniques I have tried. Any thoughts?

    1. Such a brilliant idea! love that! So when is it clumping? is it the pasta, or the cheese you think?

        1. Hummm, I’m not sure here. Have you ever tried using finely ground pecorino versus shaved or grated?

  2. Simple and Delicious. I’ve always enjoyed the process of shelling and preparing favs beans.

  3. Hello, yeah this piece of writing is actually pleasant and I have learned
    lot of things from it on the topic of blogging.
    thanks.

  4. Hi Sylvia,

    I hope you are well?

    Are fava beans broad beans can you tell me please?

    All the best,

    Karen

    1. Hi Karen, Yes thanks, all is well! I’m pretty sure that they are the same – a different name for the same bean. 😉

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Hi, I'm Sylvia!

Chef and author of the whole-foods recipe blog, Feasting at Home, Sylvia Fountaine is a former restaurant owner and caterer turned full-time food blogger. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest and shares seasonal, healthy recipes along with tips and tricks from her home kitchen.

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