Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

A Roman speciality – ‘cacio’ is the word used locally for Pecorino, the cheese used in this classic Italian recipe – cacio e pepe is effectively a dish of spaghetti with cheese and black pepper. Those simple ingredients don’t make it any less special – if anything this must surely be one of the dishes that proves why Italian cuisine is up there with master cuisines such as French and Chinese.


400g spaghetti
80g Pecorino cheese, freshly grated
3 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper


1. Cook the spaghetti in lots of boiling salted water to the timings on the packet. The spaghetti should be al dente.

2. When the spaghetti is cooked, drain it reserving a few tablespoons of the starch cooking water. Return the pasta to the saucepan, add the olive oil, grated Pecorino, the cooking water and lots of black pepper (you should see specks throughout the pasta). Toss well and serve immediately.

Photograph copyright

This recipe has been triple-tested in the gréatfood test kitchen.

It won’t be Cacio e Pepe but you can tweak this dish by adding fried pancetta or streaky bacon; and/or frozen peas which you have simmered briefly first in boiling water.

Again, it won’t be authentic but if you want to make a quick pasta dish using just spaghetti and cheese and only have Parmesan or Gruyère in the fridge use that instead of Pecorino – just don’t call it Cacio e Pepe!

We like to grate the cheese so that there are little nubbles of Parmesan in it, but you can grate it very finely if you prefer that. We use a food processor to grate the cheese if we want to keep some texture in it and a rasp grater to create a finer finish.

Spaghetti with Chicken, Cherry Tomatoes and Basil
Spaghetti bolognese
Spaghetti with Oil and Garlic (Aglio Et Olio)
Spaghetti con le Vongole
Spaghetti with Rocket Pesto and Tomatoes
Spaghetti with Radicchio and Ricotta
Pasta with Olive and Caper Tomato Sauce
Basil and Walnut Pesto
What you need to know about pasta
How to cook with pancetta
Slow Roast Lamb Shoulder
How to Buy Good Quality Tinned Tomatoes
Which Mortar and Pestle should you buy?
Potatoes Baked in Olive Oil and Rosemary
Penne with Pachino Tomato and Anchovy Sauce
How Grappa is made
How to use up Cooked Pasta and Create Resistant Starch
Tagliatelle with Lamb’s Lettuce, Walnut and Mint Pesto
Proscuitto di San Danielle with Mozzarella and Tomatoes
How to cook with Fregola or Fregula
Cooking Tip | How to Use Leftover Bread to Make Nutty Breadcrumbs


Comments are closed.