Cacio e pepe is Italian for cheese and pepper—which is essentially the recipe. This classic Roman dish is a deliciously minimalist combination of pasta (typically spaghetti), fresh-cracked black pepper, tangy Pecorino Romano cheese and—probably the most integral ingredient—hot pasta water, which transforms the cheese and pepper into a sublimely simple and delicious sauce. Here, five ways to make your new favorite pasta recipe, cacio e pepe, including both classic and unconventional variations.
1. Pasta Cacio e Pepe (above)
This rustic recipe calls for just five ingredients and comes together in no time. A little bit of butter gives the sauce an extra-silky boost.
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2. Cacio e Pepe Pasta Pie
F&W's Justin Chapple uses three types of cheese in this indulgent and delicious baked spaghetti pie.
3. Tonnarelli with Pecorino and Black Pepper
Instead of traditional spaghetti, this recipe calls for tonnarelli, a kind of fresh, square spaghetti. It also includes vegetable stock for super-velvety sauce.
4. Bucatini with Pecorino and Coarse Pepper
Cherry tomatoes aren’t traditional in cacio e pepe, but they’re still delicious in this vibrant take on the classic recipe.
5. Cacio e Pepe-Style Braised Kale
For this fast twist on the Italian pasta, F&W's Kay Chun replaces the noodles with kale.