cacio e pepe arancini

Cacio e Pepe Recipe

5/5 (2)
20 mins
Vadim Rachok
22.12.2023
26.04.2024
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Recipe Ingredients Video Nutrition
6 / 10
Health score
Egg free dishNut Free DishVegetarian Dish

Cacio e Pepe is a traditional Italian pasta recipe that is made using Spaghettini pasta, Pecorino Romano cheese, and freshly ground black pepper. Although it is a simple dish, it is known for its incredible flavor and comforting taste. With only a few high-quality ingredients and some easy techniques, you can create a pasta dish that is sure to please a crowd.

Cacio e Pepe holds a special place in my heart, and seeing the rise of bucatini in popularity warms my culinary soul. This traditional Roman pasta dish, with its simple trio of ingredients—bucatini, Pecorino Romano, and black pepper—creates a symphony of flavors. It's not just a dish; it's a journey to the heart of Italian comfort. Bravo on choosing quality ingredients; your dedication to the craft shines through!

I have noticed that straightforward pasta dishes are becoming increasingly popular in pasta restaurants here in Florida. Since my children love pasta, I always try to introduce them to new recipes, especially if they’re from the Mediterranean region where I grew up.

Spaghettini Pasta

Spaghettini is a thinner version of spaghetti, with a tender texture and faster cooking time. Its thin shape makes it an ideal choice for dishes like cacio e pepe. In this dish, the simplicity of the ingredients allows the pasta to shine. Cacio e Pepe, a classic Roman pasta dish, requires a shape of pasta that can be evenly coated with the rich sauce made from Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly cracked black pepper, and the water in which the pasta is cooked. The slender strands of spaghettini provide the perfect canvas for the creamy sauce to cling to, ensuring that every bite is bursting with flavor. Plus, you can enjoy a comforting bowl of cacio e pepe in no time with Spaghettini’s quick cooking time. This, makes it a convenient option for busy weeknight dinners.

cacio e pepe recipe

What Does Cacio e Pepe Mean?

“Cacio e Pepe” literally means “cheese and pepper” in Italian. Initially, I was not aware of this fact because even though I watched a lot of Italian TV when I lived in Albania (which is how I learned Italian), I have always known that the word ‘Formaggio’ refers to cheese.

Cacio e pepe is a classic Roman pasta dish made with only three ingredients: pasta, Pecorino Romano cheese, and freshly ground black pepper.

What Cheese do You Use to Make This Pasta Dish?

The customary type of cheese used for Bucatini Cacio e Pepe is Pecorino Romano. Pecorino Romano is an Italian cheese made with Sheep’s Milk. It’s hard and salty. I usually purchase blocks of cheese and grate them myself. Pre-shredded cheese contains anti-clumping chemicals, which can affect the taste of Cacio e Pepe.

The Recipe For Cacio E Pepe

If you are from Italy or have lived there for a long time, you are unlikely to come across this blog post because you probably know how to make cacio e pepe with spaghetti or bucatini (or any kind of pasta) easily.

I will provide detailed instructions to ensure success for those trying this recipe for the first time.

Cacio e Pepe Pasta Recipe Step By Step 1-4

Cacio e Pepe Pasta Recipe Step By Step 5

  1. Put a saucepan with water on the stove, add salt, add the pasta, and cook for 6-7 minutes until al dente.
  2. Fry the black pepper in a frying pan, add butter or olive oil, add a small amount of pasta water, and the Pecorino Romano cheese.
  3. Mix until creamy.
  4. Add the cooked pasta and mix well until it reaches the consistency of a sauce.
  5. Place on a plate, sprinkle with the rest of the Pecorino Romano, and sprinkle with pepper.

Chef Recipe Tips:

  • You can substitute Parmesan cheese for Pecorino. 
  • To cook pasta, you usually need to add o,4 ounces (10 g) of salt per 1 liter of water.

Ingredients I Use To Make This Pasta Dish

  • Paghettini pasta: Thinner than spaghetti but thicker than vermicelli, spaghettini provides the ideal texture for soaking up the flavorful sauce in Cacio e Pepe.
  • Pecorino Romano: This sharp and salty Italian cheese is a key ingredient that gives the dish its distinctive flavor. A rich and savory flavor is added to the pasta with grated Pecorino Romano.
  • Butter: Butter adds richness and creaminess to the sauce and contributes to the smooth and velvety texture of the sauce.
  • Pepper: Freshly cracked black pepper is essential to cacio e pepe, giving the dish its bold, spicy flavor. It also gives the pasta a visually appealing speckled appearance.
  • Salt: Although Pecorino Romano is salty, a dash of salt can be added to taste to enhance the overall taste of the dish and balance the tastes of the cheese and pepper.

cacio e pepe sauce recipe

Tips and Notes

I understand that you want me to keep in mind the following text: “Here’s a summary of my tips to make a successful recipe.” Please let me know if you’d like me to assist you with anything else.

  1. To prepare the pasta, cook it in boiling water for a few minutes less than the recommended cooking time to achieve an al dente texture.
  2. For best results, authentic Pecorino cheese made from sheep’s milk is recommended.
  3. Starchy pasta water is your friend. That’s what makes this dish creamy without using butter or oil.
  4. If you want to add other types of cheese to your liking, that’s fine, but it’s important to make sure that the main cheese used is Pecorino. I add 2-3 tablespoons of grated parmesan to the mix because my kids enjoy the taste, but it should be noted that most of the cheese in the recipe should be Pecorino.
  5. Mix some pasta water and grated cheese to avoid lumps until a thick sauce forms. Then, pour it over the pasta and pepper mix in the pan.
  6. It’s important to use a large and deep pan, even when cooking a small portion of this pasta. For larger portions, make sure the pan is big enough.

bucatini cacio e pepe

How To Serve This Dish?

My favorite way to enjoy this dish is with a side salad and a glass of wine. I prefer to keep it simple :). However, when it’s a family dinner on a weeknight, especially after my kids have played sports, I like to serve some protein with it too.

Storing leftovers

For the best taste experience, enjoying this dish while it’s still fresh is recommended. The sauce is at its peak creaminess when it’s newly made and a delight to savor. However, if you have any leftovers, you can still enjoy them later. Simply transfer the remaining food to an airtight container, seal it tightly, and store it in the refrigerator. The sauce may lose some of its creaminess over time, but it will still be delicious for up to five days after it’s been made.

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • 23-minute meal
  • Majorly indulgent
  • Simple ingredients
  • Crowd-pleaser

This easy-to-make, ancient Roman pasta dish is delectably creamy and guilt-free, sure to please everyone at the table with its mouthwatering lusciousness.

I can't consider this dish a healthy side due to the high amount of saturated animal fats combined with pasta. It can be quite taxing on the digestive organs. Moreover, adding any main course of meat or even lean fish or seafood to this pasta would result in an even heavier meal. The only way to consume this pasta in a healthier manner is to have it as a standalone dish for lunch, complemented by a very light vegetable salad dressed with a minimal amount of unrefined vegetable oil or a fresh vegetable medley. This will add fiber to the meal, which can aid digestion. Additionally, if you have the option to replace regular bucatini with whole-grain pasta, I would recommend doing so. In that case, when combined with vegetables, it can make for a decent vegetarian lunch. However, if your goal is to gain weight, the original version of this dish is suitable (although it's still important to consider the high load on the digestive system and the risk of elevated cholesterol).

Jenny Dobrynina
Jenny Dobrynina
Nutrition Editor
Health score:
6 / 10
Cacio e Pepe Recipe
5/5 (2)
Author:Vadim Rachok
Bucatini cacio e pepe is a traditional Italian pasta dish that is easy to make and incredibly tasty. It demonstrates how a few high-quality ingredients and a little bit of technique can result in a gourmet dish.
cacio e pepe arancini
Prep Time:
5 mins
Cook Time:
15 mins
Total Time
20 mins
Servings:
2
The ingredients you need:
7 ounces (200 g) spaghettini pasta (tonarelli)
1,8 ounces (50 g) pecorino romano
0,7 ounces (20 g) butter
0,07 ounces (2 g) pepper
salt
Let’s start !
1

Put a saucepan with water on the stove, add salt, add the pasta, and cook for 6-7 minutes until al dente.

2

Fry the black pepper in a frying pan, add butter or olive oil, add a small amount of pasta water, and the Pecorino Romano cheese.

3
Mix until creamy.
4

Add the cooked pasta and mix well until it reaches the consistency of a sauce.

5

Place on a plate, top with the rest of the Pecorino Romano, and sprinkle with pepper.

Nutrition Information
Servings Per Recipe: 2 Calories: 1008
% Daily Value *
 % Daily Value *
Total Fat 12g15%
Saturated Fat 7g35%
Cholesterol 41mg14%
Sodium 870mg38%
Total Carbohydrate 59g21%
Dietary Fiber 2g8%
Total Sugars 0g 
Protein 23g 
Vitamin C 0mg2%
Calcium 443mg34%
Iron 4mg21%
Potassium 177mg4%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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Watch How To Make It

When making Bucatini Cacio e Pepe, remember, the secret lies in the starchy pasta water. Reserve a cup before draining the pasta. It's the key to achieving that creamy texture without adding extra fat. Use it wisely to create a velvety sauce that clings perfectly to each strand of bucatini. Buon appetito!

Vadim Rachok
Vadim Rachok
Pro tip from chef
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