Cacio e Pepe (Pasta with Cracked Pepper & Cheese)

This Roman classic proves “less is more” and is a great dish if you have an adventurous streak and love pasta. The aromatic pepper and sharp pecorino cheese give this deceptively simple pasta a unique flavor. The actual cooking time is short but pretty intense!


  • 1/2 Package Italian linguine or spaghetti
  • 2 Large spoons whole black peppercorns
  • 1 Cup freshly grated pecorino cheese (widely available)
  • 1 Pad Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Large spoon Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Large spoon mascarpone (Italian cream cheese) , optional

prep / directions

Fill a large pot with salted water and bring to a gradual boil. While water is heating up, wrap the whole peppercorns in a package of parchment paper or aluminum foil and crush with a hammer or mallet so each piece is broken but doesn’t fly all over your kitchen. Then grate the cheese and set aside. When the water is boiling, cook the pasta according to package instructions. While pasta is cooking, place a fry pan or skillet on medium heat and add butter and olive oil. Add the crushed peppercorns and stir for a few minutes to release their flavor. This is a tip we got from a Roman friend and it really releases more pepper flavor. When the pasta is ready, add it to the pan and mix briskly with the pepper mixture. Quickly add a few spoons of the hot pasta water and the grated cheese, mixing together all the ingredients. Add a dollop of mascarpone if you want an extra creamy texture. Serve right away with a mixed salad on the side and say, “buon appetito”!

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