It might not look like much, but cacio e pepe is one of the quickest, easiest, and tastiest pasta dishes you can whip up in under a half hour when you need your fill of carbs for a cheat day or you’re just trying to satisfy a group of people with something packed full of cheese and pepper. Not quite the usual macaroni and cheese dish- and not quite plain cooked, buttered noodles- this recipe falls in-between the two and was my go-to dinner this past weekend when I had limited ingredients prior to stopping by the grocery store but still had to feed a couple of friends who had dropped by unexpectedly.
If you’ve got a box of pasta and some grated cheese on hand- you can make this in no time at all!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- 12 ounces spaghetti (I used linguine since I like the texture better than spaghetti!)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ⅔ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- Salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper (lots of it), to taste
- Chopped parsley, for garnish
READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes.
- While the pasta cooks, mash the soft butter with the olive oil and pecorino cheese in a large bowl to form a paste.
- When the pasta is tender, drain it, reserving ½ cup of the pasta cooking water. Add the spaghetti directly to the bowl with the butter mixture. Toss well to coat, adding the pasta water as needed to make a thick, creamy sauce that coats the pasta strands. Season with salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper.
- Divide the pasta among four plates. Garnish with parsley; serve immediately.
The cheese, pepper, and even the parsley make this a standout meal. It’s simple, but flavorful- and it’s really filling- so you don’t have to worry about your stomach growling again right after you eat it. Best of all? With the limited ingredients involved in preparing this one- cleanup is a breeze!
– Ashley –