Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe

This classic Italian pasta dish features a straightforward yet flavorful combination of pecorino Romano cheese and black pepper. It's a deceptively simple recipe that requires a bit of technique to perfect but is incredibly worth the effort. The pepper is toasted to bring out its full aroma and the cheese is delicately melted with the starchy pasta water to create a creamy, cohesive sauce that clings to each strand of spaghetti.


  • 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • salt
  • 1 lb (450g) dried spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 oz (55g) Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated


  1. In a large skillet, toast black peppercorns over medium heat until fragrant, approximately 1-2 minutes. Crush coarsely.
  2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook spaghetti until just shy of al dente. Reserve 2 cups of pasta water, then drain spaghetti.
  3. In the same skillet, add olive oil and toasted pepper, cooking over medium heat until sizzling, about 1 minute. Add 1 1/2 cups pasta water and bring to a boil.
  4. Add pasta to skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is reduced and pasta is fully coated. Remove from heat.
  5. Sprinkle cheese evenly over pasta, stirring and tossing until melted and creamy, adding more pasta water if necessary to achieve desired sauce consistency.
  6. Adjust seasoning with additional pepper and salt if needed. Serve immediately.

Check out the inspiration recipe at Serious Eats

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