Here is a classic Italian cacio e pepe pasta! A simple al dente spaghetti dish with loads of grated pecorino cheese and a good dash of freshly ground pepper… This pasta dinner is just sublime!
Have you ever heard of this dish before?
Cacio e pepe or cheese and pepper pasta is the Italian version of the world famous mac ‘n cheese! In other words: how simply delicious could it be.
It is one of those rare recipes (like ‘meatball sandwich’ of course) whose title includes all the needed ingredients: pasta, cheese and pepper.
Pepper & Cheese
No need for a shopping list this time.
This wonderful recipe doesn’t call for any further explanation.
But as I am in a good food mood today (I always am actually, for the record) I will include the preparation method anyway.
It is your lucky day: prepare for a little pasta heaven because this pasta with cheese is so goo-ood.
Easy Cacio e Pepe (Italian Pepper & Cheese Spaghetti)
Decide for yourself how much freshly ground black pepper you can stand.
Don’t get all too excited when you are preparing this meal or you risk turning it into something absolutely inedible slash lethal.
I love a good dash of heat in my food but I found out after making this pasta dish a few times that half a tablespoon of freshly crushed black peppercorns is enough for the hubs and me.
Some like it hotter, some don’t.
You know best what level of spicy you can handle, right.
Don’t you have pecorino cheese in your fridge of pantry?
Then you can replace it by another type of (preferably hard) cheese if you like such as grated parmesan cheese pecorino or dry jack. They both contain a creamy and salty balance that doesn’t disappear after warming it through.
Do you love pasta recipes with loads of cheese?
Then you should also check out another famous classic Italian cheese pasta: this pasta alfredo!
Easy Italian Cacio e Pepe Cheese Pasta Recipe
Classic cacio e pepe pasta: simple Italian spaghetti dish with grated pecorino cheese and freshly ground pepper... Yum!
- 9 oz dry pasta (250 g)
- 4,5 oz pecorino cheese (125 g), grated
- 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
- Bring a large pan of salted water to a rolling boil over high heat and add the pasta.
Cook the pasta until tender. In the meantime transfer the freshly ground black pepper to a large mixing bowl. Drain the pasta but keep ⅓ cup (80 ml) of the cooking liquid aside. Add it to the pepper in the mixing bowl.
Add the drained pasta, stir in the grated pecorino and toss to combine.
Toss until the cheese has melted fully. Divide the cheese pasta between deep plates. Sprinkle with extra grated pecorino or black pepper if you like. Serve the pasta immediately while hot.
What is the difference between cacio e pepe and alfredo pasta?
Cacio e pepe and alfredo pasta are two distinct Italian dishes that have their unique characteristics.
Cacio e pepe is a classic Roman pasta dish that originated in Rome. It is made with thick spaghetti cooked in slightly salted water, black pepper simmered with pasta water, and iconic pecorino romano cheese.
The name “cacio e pepe” literally translates to “cheese and pepper” in Italian. This dish has a tangy, salty, and peppery taste and is known for its grainy texture.
On the other hand, alfredo pasta is an Italian-American dish made with fettuccine noodles. It features a creamy sauce made with parmesan cheese, heavy cream, and butter. Unlike cacio e pepe, alfredo pasta has a creamy, nutty and mild flavor.
Differences between the two dishes:
- Origin: Cacio e pepe originated in Rome, while alfredo pasta hails from Italy.
- Cheese: Cacio e pepe uses pecorino romano cheese, while alfredo pasta requires parmesan cheese.
- Pasta: Cacio e pepe is traditionally made with thick spaghetti that allows the grainy pepper and cheese to stick to it. Alfredo pasta, on the other hand, uses ribbon pasta like fettuccine to hold the sauce.
- Taste: Cacio e pepe has a tangy, salty, and peppery taste, while alfredo pasta has a creamy, nutty, and mild flavor.
These differences contribute to the unique characteristics of each dish.
Both cacio e pepe and alfredo pasta have their own place in Italian cuisine and are enjoyed by pasta lovers around the world.