The Best Easy Cacio e Pepe Recipe Ever – this simple and delicious 5 ingredient pasta is a thing of beauty – creamy, rich, salty, and delicious with just a few simple ingredients you probably already have on hand!
If you were an avid fan of Anthony Bourdain, you’d have to know this episode. Rome, in all of the rare beauty of black and white in a modern TV format, was one of th emost memorable episodes I’ve ever watched.
For those of us that love creating, storytelling, and food – there is nobody like Anthony Bourdain. His storytelling made me fall in love with food and travel – and pursue my loves as a career.
So when he enjoyed a dish so much he couldn’t even bear to give away the location (from the Rome episode of No Reservations- shot entirely in black and white- where he proclaimed cacio e pepe as the greatest thing in the history of the world)?
I had to find a copycat that was just as amazing and try it for myself!
Cacio e pepe is one of the best comfort pastas of all time – it is creamy, rich, and delicious with a ton of flavor – despite using only a couple of ingredients that are understated and likely to already be in your pantry!
Just take me to The Best Cacio e Pepe Recipe Ever already!
If you’d rather skip my (very helpful, i think) tips and tricks and get straight to this deliciously easy best ever cacio e pepe recipe – simply scroll to the bottom of the page where you can find the printable recipe card.
What is Cacio e Pepe
Cacio e pepe might sound complicated – but it is one of the most simple and delicious pasta dishes, ever!
Cacio e pepe translates to cheese and pepper in many Italian regions – and this pasta is basically just pasta, butter, pepper, and cheese.
While cacio e pepe might sound plain – it is AMAZING. Thick, buttery, rich, and a little spicy from the pepper – it is the ultimate comfort food pasta and perfect for an easy quick dinner.
This simple pasta is so rich and creamy – without any cream.
Why Use Pasta Water in the Sauce
It sounds really weird to use pasta water in your sauce, right?
Well there is a really great reason to use about a cup of the water your pasta cooks in to make a pasta sauce – adding some of the starchy water the pasta boils in helps to emulsify and thicken the sauce, giving it tons of flavor.
Many people even call pasta cooking water “liquid gold” – don’t throw out all of your cooking water and send all that liquid gold down the drain.
Emulsifying your sauce with the addition of pasta water helps the sauce stick to the pasta so it can soak up all that delicious butter, pepper, and parmesan flavor! This results in a thick and creamy non-greasy sauce for your pasta – without any cream.
How to Make a Parmesan Pasta Bowl
While a parmesan pasta bowl isn’t required for this dinner, it is a really simple way to take this pasta up a notch and make it look amazingly fancy in no time!
Making a parmesan cheese bowl to serve your pasta in is really fun and cute- but it also adds a great crunchy texture and salty parmesan kick to your pasta too!
This easy baked parmesan bowl is so simple – but adds a ton of flavor to this dish. It’s entirely optional, but if you have a bit of extra time when making this cacio e pepe recipe, try it in this parmesan bowl!
- Start by preheating oven to 350 degrees.
- Next, layer parmesan cheese on a baking mat.
- I add 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese to the mat (this will depend on your size bowl or how big you want servings to be – you can go anywhere from 1/4 cup for a small bowl to 1/2 cup to a medium size bowl – and 1 cup parmesan for a giant bowl shape.
- Bake until lightly golden brown and very bubbly.
- Remove from oven and let cool until you can hold parmesan comfortably (it will still be very warm, but cooled enough you wont burn yourself.)
- Lay parmesan over a bowl turned upside down, folding pleats or simply scrunching it up like a tostada shell to make it fit the bowl’s shape.
- Let cool completely until hard, about 15-30 minutes.
- Add pasta to bowl.
Other Easy Pasta Dinners You’ll Love:
If you love this simple, easy, and incredibly delicious cacio e pepe recipe, be sure to check out my other favorite easy pasta dinners that will have the whole family begging for more!
These simple pasta dinners take under 30 minutes and are all incredibly budget friendly, so you can feed a crowd a rich, delicious and hearty pasta dinner without breaking the bank!
Please click each link to find the easy printable recipes:
The Best Easy Cacio e Pepe Recipe Ever
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- 1/2 lb tagliolini or spaghetti
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp fresh cracked pepper
- 1 cup pasta cooking water
- 1 3/4 cups parmesan or romano cheese, grated
- Boil a large pot of water and salt it generously.
- Add pasta and cook until under al-dente - still a little crunchy.
- Remove one cup pasta water and set aside.
- Drain pasta.
- Add cracked pepper to pan and heat for about 40 seconds on medium high to let bloom.
- Add butter and pasta water to pan, melt butter.
- Add pasta to pan and cook to al dente as sauce thickens.
- When pasta is cooked, mix parmesan or romano in pan and stir well to mix.
- Serve in parmesan cheese bowls immediately.