| |

This Authentic Cacio e Pepe Recipe Is A Classic Roman Meal

This authentic Cacio e Pepe recipe is a delicious and easy weeknight pasta meal that is one of the four traditional pasta dishes of Rome and an Italian classic.

Authentic Cacio e Pepe Recipe - Perfectly Creamy Pasta

Perfectly Creamy Pasta

I love this recipe because it is so easy to prepare, but you need to give attention to a couple of techniques that I describe below that will elevate this dish from a simple mac and cheese to a Roman classic. There are only three ingredients, but understanding the specifics will be well worth the effort for an easy but delicious weeknight meal.

What Is The Authentic Cacio e Pepe Recipe Secret?

The secret to an authentic Cacio e Pepe recipe is in the ingredients and the techniques that will be important to follow. I’ve seen experienced cooks and chefs make mistakes that can ruin the dish, so be sure to buy the right cheese and confidently use the techniques described in this recipe so that you and your friends and/or family will be transported to Rome with this fantastic recipe.

Pasta Pot with Strainer

Perfect for cooking pasta, this pot can be used to cook a range of meals you will love!

Kitchen Tools And Cookware

We are proud to be an Amazon Affiliate, so If you are looking for some amazing products, please click on the links below as we have compiled a list of some of our favorite equipment. As an Amazon Associate, we at Saturdays In Rome earn commissions from qualifying purchases, but there are no added costs for you. For this recipe, and others, check out some of our recommended cookware and kitchen tools.

Pasta MakerGnocchi BoardPasta BoardRavioli Maker
Ravioli Press/StamperRicerBialetti Pasta PotBamboo Cutting Board Set of 3
Silpat Baking MatSantoku KnifeMeasuring Cups and SpoonsStainless Mixing Bowls
Dutch OvenMesh StrainersStainless ColanderStainless Steel Fry Pan
Authentic Cacio e Pepe Recipe - Pecorino Romano Only

Pecorino Romano Only

Why Is My Cacio e Pepe Recipe Not Creamy?

Mixing Bowls

Only recently have a realized how great mixing bowls with lids are and these stainless steel beauties are amazing!

The most common reason that Cacio e Pepe comes out clumpy is that the cheese isn’t tempered and it is added to the pasta when the pan is too hot. The techniques you need to be aware of are:

  • Temper the finely shredded cheese with a ladle or two of the pasta water in a mixing bowl. Stir the cheese vigorously until it is melted and creamy. If it seems dry, add another ladle of the pasta water. Don’t add too much water, but if you do, don’t worry. It will be cooked out when it is added to the pasta.
  • After the pasta is added to the pepper sauce and mixed well, remove the pan from the heat and let it cool for a minute or two while continuing to stir the pasta, pepper and water. Now add the creamy cheese mixture to the pasta and only once it is well mixed, add it back to the heat and continue to stir. This will help it maintain its creamy texture and will prevent the cheese from clumping.
Authentic Cacio e Pepe Recipe - Temper The Cheese

Temper the Cheese

What Is Authentic Cacio e Pepe in Rome?

This recipe uses spaghetti, which is a perfectly acceptable cheese to use for this dish, but the authentic Cacio e Pepe recipe uses a different pasta, and one that I love. In Rome, the typical pasta is called Tonnarelli, also known as Spaghetti alla Chitarra, which is a fresh egg pasta that is a chewy delight. I plan to make that in the future, but for this recipe, I wanted to keep it simple, so all you need is the best Spaghetti you can find.

An Authentic Cacio e Pepe Recipe Uses What Kind Of Cheese?

Santoku Knife

The Santoku style knife is my favorite when I’m cooking and Victorinox makes a great one!

The correct and most traditional cheese to use in this recipe is Pecorino Romano. This is a firm and salty sheep’s milk cheese that is used in the great dishes of Rome. I’ve seen this dish made with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, instead of Pecorino Romano, and while it isn’t correct, I think it’s viewed as acceptable to some people, but if you want to keep it Roman, Pecorino Romano is the only way to go. If you can find it, an aged Pecorino Romano is even better, but to be honest, it is difficult to find even here in Italy.

Authentic Cacio e Pepe Recipe - Mix Vigorously

Mix Vigorously

What Are The Four Traditional Pasta Dishes In Rome?

Cacio e Pepe is only one of the four classic Roman pasta dishes. The other three are:

  • Pasta alla Carbonara
  • Pasta alla Grigia
  • Bucatini all’Amatriciana

Can I Use Butter in An Authentic Cacio e Pepe Recipe?

I have seen some recipes that recommend using butter to make the cheese mixture creamy, but this is incredibly inauthentic. There is no butter used for cooking in Rome and if you follow the recommendations I detailed above for keeping the cheese creamy, there is no need to use butter. I highly recommend skipping the butter and sticking with these basic three ingredients and I’m sure you will be happy with the results.

If you would like a free copy of this recipe in PDF format, please sign up for access to our Recipe Box which contains a growing list of amazing Italian recipes discussed on this blog, including this delicious recipe.

Authentic Cacio e Pepe Recipe - Pasta and Pepper

Pasta and Pepper

An Authentic Cacio e Pepe Recipe

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Servings: 4

Authentic Cacio e Pepe Ingredients

  • 1 lb. of Dried Spaghetti
  • 8 ounces of finely shredded Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of Black Pepper roughly ground
  • Salt to taste

Cooking Instructions

  1. Set timer, bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add the Spaghetti.
  2. Add pepper to a large sauté pan and slowly heat until you can smell the pepper.
  3. To prevent burning, add a ladle (or two) of the pasta water and let it lightly boil. Make sure the pan doesn’t go dry and burn the pepper.
  4. Add the cheese and a couple of ladles of boiling water to a bowl and mix it until it is creamy like a paste.
  5. When the Spaghetti is cooked, add it to the sauté pan with the water and pepper. Quickly stir the pasta and try to develop a sauce from the pepper and starchy pasta water.
  6. After two minutes of stirring, take off the heat and continue to stir while letting the pasta and pan cool a little, for about a minute.
  7. Add the cheese mixture while the pasta is off the heat. Stir vigorously and mix the cheese throughout the pasta.
  8. Put the pasta and cheese mixture back on a low flame and continue to stir it. If the sauce gets too dry, and one more ladle of pasta water to loosen up the mixture.
  9. Once everything is well mixed and creamy, serve immediately. When it is in the serving bowl, top with a little bit of fresh ground pepper and some more cheese.
Authentic Cacio e Pepe Recipe - Finished Plate

Finished Plate Of Pasta

Other Italian Recipes That Might Interest You

If you love cooking Italian recipe as much as I do and you enjoyed this authentic Cacio e Pepe recipe, here are some other recipes, both easy and more difficult, that you might want to try:

Similar Posts