Cacio e Pepe

Yesterday, Alex stayed home sick with a cold (the first time in three years!), and he was like a little boy all wrapped up in blankets with a pile of tissues. For dinner, I wanted to make him something warm and bolstering, so I cooked up a Roman dish we’d had on our honeymoon: Cacio e Pepe. You mix together whole-wheat spaghetti, grated Pecorino Romano cheese, a bit of the hot cooking water (to make it gooey), and tons and tons of black pepper. I also added a tiny bit of lemon juice, just ’cause. It was super easy, and I’d highly recommend it. xo

(Photo by Kahakai Kitchen)

  1. It won’t succeed as a matter of fact, that’s exactly what I think.

  2. oh wow, that sounds yummy…I like the suggestion to use a poached egg on top. YUM!

  3. wow, this was amazing. it was so good that i made it too nights in a row! thanks for sharing!

  4. yum yum yum yum yum

    My family is from Cyprus, and we do something similar, except with crumbled dried mint leaves instead of pepper. It’s the ultimate lazy, cozy home food.

  5. I think I might make this tonight and add shrimp! Thanks Joanna!

  6. also delicious with spaghetti squash

  7. Mmmmm simple & tasty!

  8. Made this for me and my hubs last night–it was a hit. I threw in some pine nuts too, yum!
    Thanks for sharing.

  9. YUM! I can’t wait to try this – such simple goodness! BTW have you been to the Cacio e Pepe in the East Village {}? So good!
    Thanks for an awesome post.

  10. I also discovered cacio & pepe, recently living in Rome. absolutely my favorite Roman dish (and I can assure you, I’m trying lots of them!)

  11. how funny that you posted this – we also just got back from rome and i had it on my ‘to blog’ list. we made some in paris (don’t ask!) and it was deelish! amazing how something so simple can be so memorable (and how i’ve been on the planet 31 years and didn’t think to have pasta with just cheese and pepper)!

  12. delicious! we do this a lot with orzo (it is great when gooey with the cooking water) and to make it extra special- add some artichoke hearts!

  13. That looks amazing! I’d love to try that with a glass of chilled white wine! Thanks for making me hungry.. :)

  14. this made me crave pasta MADLY at 1am in the morning. and i’m still craving it now, 9 hours later! :)

  15. I bookmarked this and am absolutely trying it within the next couple days. Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

  16. sounds simply wonderful… and on days where migraine headaches plague all, it sounds like just the perfect type of comfort food… i’ll be sure to stock up for my next sick day :o)

  17. That is super easy. I’m going to try it for sure.

  18. looks yummy! I made the boy and I some pasta last night too, but we just had linguine with regular out-of-the-jar marinara sauce. it was good, but I’m sure yours was better!

  19. I’ve made something almost exactly like that but didn’t know it had such a cool name! Thanks!

  20. simple. delicious. god, i love italian food. ;)

  21. Anonymous says...

    This sounds amazing! I can’t wait to try it.

  22. love simple pepper-and-sharp-cheese pasta. add LOTS of garlic, too. good for clearing up sinuses. ;)

  23. that sounds delicious!

  24. Yum! I love pasta dishes, and actually made one last night, too!

  25. my husband is sick too. and is wrapped in blankets on the couch. i think i’ll make this for him tonight! i have to add grated cheese though. can’t have pasta without it :)

  26. How sweet you are taking care of your love! Thanks for sharing this – I need no excuse to wolf down cheesy pasta, yum!

  27. Well then, now that I live in Rome I will just have to try this traditional Roman meal! Looks amazing :)


  28. That sounds great.
    Hugs and I hope your baby boy is feeling better now :)

  29. Yummmmmy. I know what’s for dinner tonight!

  30. looks easy and delicious!

  31. anything with lemon and pepper is such a comforting food for me.

  32. I’m wishing I would get a cold now so I could stay home and make comfort food and be swaddled! yes please

  33. one of my favorite meals!!!!

  34. That’s making my mouth water and it’s only 9:30 in the morning!

  35. oooh, adding a poached egg sounds so good. and emily and hatsandfeathers, hope you’re feeling much better!!

  36. This looks amazing, and perfect to warm up a cold belly.

  37. This looks heavenly. I need it right now. And yes, it’s not even 9:00am. :)

  38. Mmm…simple and delicious recipes are the best! Hope Alex feels better!

  39. i love super simple pasta dishes that don’t make you feel like a blimp after you eat them…storing this one in my recipe file for sure!

  40. mmm…that looks like my kind of meal.

  41. I hope Alex is feeling better soon! I’ve made this dish with an egg – a bit of protein thrown in.

  42. Get Well Hugs from Canada. xo Sounds so yummy. Try Licorice Stash Tea really hot and on the side, ice cold black sambuca- works like a charm on colds…that and Vit. D and C. LPxo

  43. i love pasta dishes…you are an amazing cook! thank you so much for sharing your cooking with us! i hope alex feels much better!

  44. Yum! I hope Alex feel better!

  45. As an honorary Roman, I thank you. Gourmet magazine, a few years ago, did a good rundown on cacio e pepe. (In one of their special issues.) It’s the closest I’ve had in the States to the real thing (other than here or at a friend’s apt.)

    I’m trying to ignore the lemon juice…& someone’s pancetta idea. (The eggy one is carbonara without the pancetta or guanciale & onions.) All good but do not, I repeat, do not serve to Italian. They are more delicate than they appear & will freak out & moan & shriek. No end of trouble. You will be apologizing forever. (Trust me on this.)

    So sorry Alex is feeling funky. First time in 3 years is nothing to, um, sneeze at…hope you both keep a watch out for early swinishness. (I am not really kidding. Two friends have two family members–1 child & 1 middle-aged guy just out of hospital…)


  46. Real comfort food. I love the idea from anon to poach an egg with it. Will try!

  47. that sounds so good! we do something almost the same, but with added diced pancetta. yum!

  48. Simple and Yummy! I would add some garlic too to help fight cold! :)

  49. Mmmmm, sounds yummy. Hope it has Alex on the road to recovery!

  50. So simple and yummy looking! Delicious!

  51. I’m a pasta addict. I don’t care if it is white or wheat – I love it all. This dish looks so yummy. It is so nice when someone cooks something special for you when you’re sick. =)

  52. Yum! Sick or not I’m making this tonight!

  53. oh my goodness! so yummy it makes me hungry right now! hope your sweetie feels better now! xo

  54. a bit of lemon juice makes everything that much better.

  55. That sounds divine! I have been living off boxed mac and cheese for too long.

  56. this dish sounds delicious (especially considering i’m home in bed as well!)

  57. kate (pm) says...

    Cacio e pepe is my favorite! I agree with other posters, too. Try adding a little of another cheese, too. My family in Rome has always made it with 3 cheeses. Proportions are to taste. (me, I just use whatever I have at home).

  58. Mmm sounds delish! Esp the lots of pepper part.

  59. We’ve made that before and it is wonderfully delicious. Sometimes, we add some scampi-style shrimp too & spinach!

  60. oh. yum.

  61. Anonymous says...

    another way to bolster cacio e pepe is to add some romano cheese with the parmesean reggiano. (the restaurant lupa in the west village does this and it really makes a difference). i would also poach an egg in the boiling spaghetti water, and once the egg whites are set and the yolk still runny, put the egg over the pasta strands and break the yolk over it. It makes the sauce even better.

  62. i stayed home sick yesterday too and all i was craving was comfort food. do you deliver? :)