Cacio e Pepe Pasta

from 7 votes

You’re only four ingredients and less than 25 minutes away from this easy, creamy recipe for Cacio e Pepe Pasta.

A green pot containing Cacio e Pepe Pasta and tongs

What the forms say: W-2, 1099, IT-201, W-9, 1040.

What I read: KFC, BLT, M&Ms, CPK, PB&J.


Green pot with cooked spaghetti and tongs

There may not be crying in baseball, but there is without a doubt crying in taxes. I’ve never been big on “math,” so every year when tax season rolls around, you better believe there is a flurry of emails to my accountant with a lot of of who-what-when-where-and-how’s.


Green pot with cooked spaghetti topped with grated Parmesan and black pepper

Cooking, and let’s be honest, eating for a living, leads to a whole lot-o-food bills. So every April I take a long, hard look at my grocery receipts and restaurant bills and decide that next year, I’ll dial it back.

So here’s my first attempt: noodles, butter, cheese and pepper; a.k.a. Cacio e Pepe Pasta.

Large pot containing Cacio e Pepe Pasta and tongs

This recipe is my go-to budget-friendly, big-flavored favorite that’s not so great for the skinny jeans but unbeatable for the wallet. My sister first introduced me to this dish during dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant in Chicago, Davanti Enoteca. One taste, and I, nor my food budget, have ever looked back.

Tune in to the video below to see me whip up this quick and cost-conscious favorite!

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Main Course

Cacio e Pepe Pasta

All you need is four simple ingredients for this quick and easy recipe for Cacio e Pepe Pasta.
Author: Kelly Senyei
5 from 7 votes
A green pot containing Cacio e Pepe Pasta and tongs
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Servings 6 servings


  • 1 pound dried spaghetti
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, small diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely grated black pepper


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Add the spaghetti and cook it until al dente, about 12 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.
  • Return the pasta to the pot. Add the grated cheese, butter, black pepper and roughly ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water to the pot, stirring until combined. If necessary, add more pasta water to thin out the cheese and butter until the spaghetti is well coated.

Kelly's Notes:

  • I can't tell you how many times I've forgotten to reserve a portion of the pasta water when draining the spaghetti. The starchy water is critical to the consistency of the sauce, so while hot water will work in a pinch, avoid forgetting this step!
  • The cheese must be grated, rather than shredded, as the shredded consistency has the tendency to clump together when added to the pot.
  • ★ Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to give it a star rating below!


Calories: 439kcal, Carbohydrates: 57g, Protein: 19g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 37mg, Sodium: 387mg, Potassium: 206mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 390IU, Calcium: 297mg, Iron: 1.3mg


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Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.

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  1. 5 stars
    This is the best Cacio e pepe recipe I have found! I’ve tried several to get it right and this is now my go to. The secret I think is the grating of the cheese… genius! I have made this several times, always with whole wheat linguine and it’s a family favorite. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  2. 5 stars
    Oh my. So easy, even more delicious.
    I chose Cellentani pasta instead of spaghetti. Scrumptious!! We even roasted broccoli separately and tossed some in for variation. My kids were happy to eat veggies tossed into this incredible pasta meal. We’ll be eating this again SOON. Thank you!!!

  3. Do you believe it’s critical to include the pepper? I have some rather picky eaters in my house. This recipe sounds delightful!

  4. 5 stars
    Delicious! Even my hard to impress little ones kept saying how good it was. It was the perfect side to grilled chicken. I will be making this again. Thank you so much!

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