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Cacio e Pepe Pasta

All you need is four simple ingredients for this quick and easy recipe for Cacio e Pepe Pasta.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Total Time 22 mins
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 1/4 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.
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