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!
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:
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Easy Roasted Asparagus
- Crispy Oven Roasted Broccoli
- Grilled Veggies
- Simple Sautéed Greens Recipe
- 15-Minute Broccoli with Garlic & Lemon Zest
- Roasted Garlic
- Simple Roasted Vegetables
- Green Beans with Hazelnuts and Lemon!
Ingredients in Cacio e Pepe
- Pasta – good-quality spaghetti, linguini, bucatini or almost any pasta! Store-bought or homemade.
- Olive oil– use 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!
STEP TWO: Saute fresh cracked pepper in a skillet with olive oil until fragrant.
Add the cooked pasta to the skillet.
Add the pecorino!
Add hot pasta water to loosen and toss again!
Add any veggies you like! Here we added blanched fava beans.
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.
Garnish with more cheese and pepper if you like!
Have a wonderful weekend!
More pasta recipes you may like
- Garlicky Chard Pasta
- Charred Asparagus Kale Pasta with Lemony Cannellini Beans
- Zesty Vegan Pasta with Cashew Alfredo Sauce
- Pasta with Broccolini, Preserved Lemon and Chickpeas
- Vegetarian and Vegan Pasta Recipes!
- Roasted Cauliflower Pasta with Toasted Walnuts, Parsley, Garlic & Lemon zest
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.
- 8 ounces linguini, spaghetti or bucatini (to make fresh pasta see notes below)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2–1 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. 😉
- Cook Pasta in 8 cups of water with 1 teaspoon of salt– according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.
- 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.
- Taste for salt and pepper, adjust to taste. Add more pasta water, cheese or pepper if you like.
- To serve, divide, sprinkle each portion with more pecorino, and parsley and drizzle with olive oil.
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
- 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
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