Cacio e Pepe
Using the best Parmesan Reggiano, freshly ground black pepper and extra virgin olive oil make all the difference in this classic Roman pasta dish. Recipe created by Chef Maral Banks.
Total cook time
- 12 oz dry spaghetti (thick cut)
- 2/3 – 1 C freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, more for garnish
- Fresh, coarsely ground black pepper (about 35 turns)
- Kosher salt as needed
Place the black pepper into a small skillet over medium high heat and toast until the pepper is fragrant. Set aside.
Select a pan that is just wide enough to hold the spaghetti as it’s best to cook it in a minimum amount of water – this starchy water will form the base of the sauce. Add about 2” water to the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Add a large pinch of kosher salt and the spaghetti. Stir to keep the spaghetti from sticking together and cook until the spaghetti is al dente. Reserve 2/3-1 C of the starchy cooking water and drain any excess.
Return the spaghetti to the pan with ½ C of the reserved pasta water. Turn off the heat and add 2/3 C of the cheese and the black pepper. Toss until the sauce begins to coat the pasta, then add in 2 Tbsp of the extra virgin olive oil and continue to toss until the sauce comes together – add a little more pasta water if needed to adjust consistency. Taste and season with additional kosher salt if desired. Portion into warm serving bowls and garnish each with a fresh drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a generous topping of freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano and additional freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
All recipe ingredients should be cooked to a safe internal temperature according to USDA guidelines. After preparing a recipe, please store any leftovers in the refrigerator.