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A bowl of cacio e pepe spaghetti with grated cheese in the background.

Cacio e Pepe

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 3 people
Author Marissa


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces spaghetti
  • 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 teaspoon toasted black peppercorns or 1 ½ - 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper see notes
  • A pinch of salt


  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Meanwhile, grind up the toasted peppercorns using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Set aside.
  • Once the water is boiling, add in a tablespoon of kosher salt and stir in the pasta.
  • Let cook, stirring occasionally, 1-2 minutes less than the package directions suggest. Drain, reserving ¾ cup of the pasta water.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Melt in the butter and add the freshly ground black pepper. Stir it until it becomes fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Add in the cooked pasta and toss, using tongs. Add in the grated Romano and some of the reserved cooking water, tossing and alternating until a creamy sauce is formed and both ingredients are all used up. Taste and add in a pinch of salt if necessary.
  • Serve immediately with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano and more black pepper to taste.


To toast the whole peppercorns, place them in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, shaking occasionally. Let cool slightly. Grind up the toasted peppercorns in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and set aside.
If not cooking with whole peppercorns, use 1 ½ - 2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper.