Archive | May, 2018

The Best Cacio e Pepe Recipe – What did you call me??

19 May

Authentic Roman Cacio e Pepe recipe – Catch the Fever!
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Another signature dish of Rome along with Bucatini all’Amatriciana and Pasta alla Carbonara, is Cacio e Pepe. This simple pasta from the Italian capital combines very few ingredients to create a deliciousness that explodes in your mouth. Pronouncing Cacio e Pepe correctly is sometimes a challenge for those not familiar with the recipe. “Cacio” is another word for cheese in the region of Lazio near central Italy, while “Pepe” translates to (black) pepper though could be misunderstood for the shortened name of Giuseppe = Peppe (also changed to Beppe). So it’s not uncommon to order your Cacio e Pepe out loud and have several people turnaround and say “che voi?” (what do you want?). I actually made that part up, but the way to pronounce “Cacio” sounds like “catch” but is actually “Kah-chio” for those taking notes at home. The recipe only requires Pecorino Romano cheese, black pepper, pasta and pasta water (you can add olive oil as well) and will take you little time to prepare so come on, let’s get started!Classic Roman dish cacio e pepe with rigatoni, pepper, Pecorino Romano recipe from Paggi Pazzo

There’s little prep time for the Cacio e Pepe recipe with only grating your Pecorino Romano prior to boiling the pasta water. Now you can substitute the Pecorino Romano for Reggiano Parmigiano but I would not as the Pecorino Romano provides a sharpness necessary for the dish to work. Heat a small pan at medium to high heat and add 2 tablespoons of black pepper without olive oil or water. When the pasta water has boiled, take a small ladle of that water and add to the pan with black pepper and lower the heat as not to evaporate all of the water. This will create a quick fog of smoke and bring the pepper to life. Now that the boiling pot of water is ready, add the pasta. In Rome, long pasta is most commonly associated with Cacio e Pepe but for this recipe I used rigatoni. Once the pasta has cooked and is al dente, put some of the pasta water into a bowl aside (I would put aside more pasta water if I was cooking with longer pasta like spaghetti than I would for short pasta). Then drain the pasta and combine the pasta into the pan with black pepper and stir gently. Add a little of the pasta water to the pan and slowly mix in the Pecorino Romano and remaining black pepper. The pasta water should start to help the ingredients come together as a light sauce, hanging onto to the pasta. I also use a few tablespoons of oilve oil to give it a little extra flavor afterwards but that is all that is required to make this tasty pasta. For a wine, I like to go red and enjoy the Lazio region favorite of Cesanese, a common table wine in Rome. There you have it, Cacio e Pepe recipe from Paggi Pazzo, “hey Peppe – pasta is served!”
Cesanese Wine from Lazio, perfect for all Roman recipes

Cacio e Pepe Recipe

Prep time: 2 min
Cook time: 15 min
Total time: 17 min
Yield: 4 servings


  • 1/2 pound rigatoni (Barilla)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons black pepper
  • 1/4 cup pasta water
  • 3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano

Cooking Directions

  1. Boil pasta water then add rigatoni
  2. Heat pan and add 2 tablespoons of black pepper
  3. Once pasta water boils, add a ladle to the pan with black pepper and lower heat
  4. Put aside 1/4 cup of past water in a separate bowl
  5. Once pasta is al dente, drain water and add rigatoni to pan with black pepper and mix gently.
  6. Add grated Pecorino Romano slowly mixing and remaining black pepper and a little more pasta water to create a creamy texture and sauce.
  7. Ready to serve

Authentic Roman Cacio e Pepe recipe

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