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The Best Five-Ingredient Cacio e Pepe Pasta Recipe

This 5-Ingredient Cacio e Pepe Pasta Recipe Is an Irresistible Classic Anyone Can Make

I like to think of cacio e pepe (Italian for "cheese and pepper") as Rome's cosmopolitan version of mac and cheese. It's a simple recipe that requires nothing more than spaghetti, cheese, butter, and seasonings, but it's all in the technique. The reserved cup of pasta water is what helps you achieve a glossy sauce that coats the pasta and makes it creamy . . . just without cream. And the buttery, peppery pasta is also ready in a matter of minutes — and is always gone even faster than that. For this reason, cacio e pepe is one of the most valued dishes in my weeknight recipe arsenal. Want a plate of this now? Then check out the easy recipe ahead.

Cacio e Pepe Pasta

Adapted from Chow

Cacio e Pepe Pasta


  1. 1 pound dried spaghetti
    2 cups pecorino romano cheese, finely grated, plus more for serving
    3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch squares
    2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper


  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta, and cook according to package directions. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
  2. Return pasta and cooking water to the pot, and place over low heat. Add remaining ingredients, and stir until cheese and butter have melted and formed a creamy sauce, about 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste, and serve immediately with additional cheese.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Anna Monette Roberts
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