Experience the simple yet delicious flavours of Rome with spaghetti cacio e pepe! Made with just three ingredients, this classic pasta dish is a quick and easy way to transport your taste buds to Italy.




Ready In:


15 min




Good For:



About this Recipe

By: Silvana Lanzetta

Spaghetti cacio e pepe has become one of the most beloved dishes internationally in the past few years, which surprised me at first. During my cooking classes, more and more people have been asking me for the recipe, particularly because they have trouble achieving the creamy texture of the sauce. I totally get it – it can seem a little intimidating. But let me tell you, the secret to nailing that perfectly smooth cacio e pepe sauce is all in taking your time and adding the starchy water little by little.

I have to admit though, I don’t make this sauce as often as I would like to. Why, you ask? Well, my younger child is not a fan of the strong flavour. I don’t want to force him to eat it during dinner and then end up throwing it away, since cacio e pepe doesn’t store well at all. So, I reserve it as an occasional treat for myself when he’s away for a playdate or spending time with his dad.

spaghetti cacio e pepe



Recommended Pasta Shapes

Spaghetti cacio e pepe is a traditional first course that’s deeply rooted in the Roman tradition, and it’s become an integral part of not just the city’s cuisine, but the entire nation’s as well.

Describing this dish can be quite a task, almost like finding the right words to describe the Colosseum. But every forkful of this amazing dish, manages to convey all the genuineness of its origins, leading to a food and wine experience that’s simply out of this world.

While it may look simple on the surface, creating the perfect cacio e pepe sauce can be quite complex. It’s all about achieving the right balance of creaminess and not drying out the pasta, while amalgamating the components with taste and lightness.

A brief history of spaghetti cacio e pepe

Did you know that this dish has its roots in the most genuine traditions, such as transhumance? Roman shepherds needed a hearty and delicious meal that could be easily prepared while on the go. They combined simple ingredients like pecorino cheese and black pepper to make a pasta dish that was both delicious and practical.

If you’re a lover of classic recipes, I’ve got the true original recipe below, so you can bring a mouth-watering and state-of-the-art dish to your table!

Whether you prefer it with spaghetti, bucatini, or mezze maniche, cacio e pepe is a dish that’s sure to satisfy your taste buds. So why not try making it yourself? It’s a quick and easy recipe that you can whip up in no time. However, it’s important to remember that because of the few ingredients used in this recipe, their quality must be top-notch.

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While spaghetti cacio e pepe is a delicious and popular dish, it is also high in calories, fat, and sodium. As with all foods, it’s important to enjoy it in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

  • Proteins 23% 23%
  • Carbs 25% 25%
  • Fats 39% 39%
spaghetti cacio e pepe

The Ingredients

Pecorino Romano

Have you ever wondered why pecorino romano is the only cheese that can make a perfect cacio e pepe? Well, it’s not just a coincidence! This particular cheese has some unique features that make it perfect for this recipe.

When heated, pecorino romano turns into a creamy and smooth texture, especially when mixed with hot water. Be careful though: the more aged the pecorino, the more you risk forming lumps, so it’s important to use one that is aged no more than 5 months.

To achieve the perfect creamy texture, the ratio of water to pecorino should be one-to-one. For instance, you can heat 30 grams of pecorino romano with 30 grams of water to obtain the perfect cream.


If you want to make the most out of your spaghetti cacio e pepe. The secret to achieving the best flavour is to use whole black peppercorns and grind them up just before cooking. Trust me, it makes all the difference!

By grinding the peppercorns yourself, you’ll get a much more intense and aromatic flavour that will take your cacio e pepe to the next level. Plus, it’s super easy to do! All you need is a good quality peppermill or mortar and pestle.


When it comes to cacio e pepe, the traditional pasta shapes are spaghetti and tonnarelli (with eggs) or spaghetti alla chitarra (egg-free). Bucatini is also a popular choice, and sometimes people opt for mezze maniche, which is a shorter version of rigatoni. But no matter which pasta you decide to use, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Make sure your pasta has a rough texture, so the sauce can adhere to it properly.
  2. Don’t forget to use good quality pasta that is a) high in protein and b) slow dried. Read carefully the packaging to find out all the information you need.


Cooking water

To achieve the perfect creamy cacio e pepe sauce, you gotta use the starchy pasta water. Don’t just settle for plain boiled water – that won’t do the trick.

Trust me on this – the starchy water from cooking your pasta is like liquid gold for making the creamiest, smoothest sauce ever. The starches in the water mix with the cheese and create the perfect consistency that’ll make your dish truly unforgettable.

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spaghetti cacio e pepe

Spaghetti cacio e pepe

  • Author: Silvana
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 portions 1x


This classic Roman dish is made with just three simple ingredients: spaghetti, Pecorino cheese, and black pepper. Follow our easy recipe for a creamy and delicious pasta dish that will impress your guests.


  • 400 grams of spaghetti
  • 250 grams of pecorino romano, grated
  • 6 grams of black peppercorns


  1. Fill a pot with water and place it on the stove to cook the pasta. For a richer starch content, use half the amount of water you usually use.

  2. While the water is heating up, grate the Roman Pecorino cheese and transfer almost all of it to a bowl, saving some for later use.

  3. Once the water comes to a boil, add salt and add the spaghetti.

  4. While the pasta cooks, crush the black peppercorns with a meat mallet or use a grinder, leaving them rather large for even distribution.

  5. In a large non-stick frying pan, toast the peppercorns over low heat, stirring them with a wooden spoon. Deglaze the pan with a couple of ladles of the pasta cooking water and continue stirring over low heat.

  6. Drain the spaghetti 2-3 minutes before the recommended cooking time on the package and transfer it to the pan, reserving the cooking water.

  7. Finish cooking the spaghetti in the pan, bringing it to a boil again and adding hot water as necessary. Stir constantly with tongs and wait until the bottom of the pan is almost dry before adding more water.

  8. Prepare the Pecorino cream by pouring a ladle of hot cooking water into the bowl with the grated cheese. Mix vigorously with a hand whisk until you achieve a more pasty consistency.

  9. If the cream is ready before the pasta, keep it at a temperature similar to the pasta by placing the bowl on the saucepan with hot water and continuing to mix with the whisk.

  10. When the spaghetti is cooked, turn off the heat and add the Pecorino cream, stirring constantly with tongs.

  11. Adjust the creaminess of the dish by adding more Pecorino or a little cooking water as needed.

  12. Serve your spaghetti cacio e pepe by sprinkling with the remaining grated Pecorino cheese and more freshly ground pepper to taste.


When salting pasta water, use caution as pecorino romano is very salty. Salt the water moderately to avoid over-salting the dish.

It’s best to consume Spaghetti cacio e pepe immediately after preparing it.

Avoid any form of conservation as it may affect the dish’s texture and flavour.

To achieve a creamy and delicious sauce without lumps, it’s crucial to use pasta cooking water that’s rich in starch. 

To make sure your pasta is cooked to perfection, check my post on how to cook pasta like an Italian

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Category: Pasta
  • Cuisine: Italian
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