Authentic Roman Cacio e Pepe Recipe

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Looking for an authentic cacio e pepe recipe that is easy to make? Here’s how to create the ultimate creamy comfort food.

On my first trip to Rome, my family and I stopped at a restaurant near Castel Sant’Angelo to celebrate my birthday. We ordered plates of pastas, salads, and pizza and devoured everything. The flavors were incredible and the cacio e pepe was undeniably the best I had ever eaten!

Pasta is great comfort food and cacio e pepe is one of the easiest meals to make.

Why dream about Rome, Italy? Live la dolce vita and make this authentic Roman cacio e pepe recipe in just minutes at home! We’re here to help you create this gastronomic recipe, step-by-step.

It will take less than an hour to learn how to make this authentic pasta recipe to create some serious eats. You’ll also have a guide on  

  • what pasta and cheeses to use in cacio e pepe
  • what dishes to serve with cacio e pepe
  • what wines to serve with pasta

What are the Ingredients in Cacio e Pepe


The number of ingredients is few. Therefore, when making cacio e pepe, use quality pasta and cheeses and don’t stray too much from the recipe.

The best kinds of pasta to use are spaghetti, bucatini, or tagliolini.

Bucatini looks like spaghetti, the difference being that spaghetti does not have a hole in the center and is slightly smaller in size.

As a result, Bucatini will be filled with some creamy sauce when immersed. It should be your pasta of choice if you prefer more cheesy tastes with every bite.

Spaghetti and bucatini are round in shape, whereas tagliolini is more rectangular and looks like linguini.

The long, ribbon-like strands are thin and work well in recipes with light sauces.


The parmesan cheese is made from unpasteurized cow milk, enzymes, and salt and has no additional additives.

If there are more ingredients in the cheese, it is likely not authentic. The cheese brings savory and sharp nutty tastes with hints of fruit to the palate.

Pecorino cheese has four main varieties, Pecorino Sardo, Pecorino Siciliano, Pecorino Toscano, and Pecorino Romano), and the difference depends on the aging.

All types are from sheep’s milk. However, Pecorino Romano is more widely known and available outside of Italy.

This hard Italian cheese is dense and smoky with an aromatic flavor.

What Side Dishes to Serve with Cacio e Pepe

Pasta dishes are satisfying and filling. A lighter side of vegetables will best complement the meal and balance the load of carbohydrates.

Steamed broccoli in lemon butter would be a nice supplement.

Kale salad is also a good choice. Kale may not be loved by everyone, but the ingredients can make all the difference.

A Caesar salad would add a creamy, rich, and tangy taste to the meal. Then add chicken for more protein in the dish.

There are so many great sides you could enjoy with cacio e pepe.

cacio e pepe recipe wine pairings
Credit: Wine Folly

What Wine Pairs with Cacio e Pepe

For wine pairings, the type of noodle will not matter much.

Instead, the sauce determines which wines pair well with cacio e pepe.

If you are partial to a particular brand, it should be easy to find a grape within the brand family.

Cacio e pepe is a cheese-based recipe and is paired best with a full-bodied white or a light-bodied red.

Full-bodied Wines

  • Chardonnay (oaked)
  • White Rhône (marsanne-roussanne)
  • Semillon
  • Chenin Blanc
  • White Rioja (Maccabeu / Viura)

Light-bodied Wines

  • Lambrusco
  • Pinot Noir
  • Zinfandel

Authentic Roman Cacio e Pepe Recipe

Recipe by Tanya TaylorCourse: ItalyCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time






  • 6 oz spaghetti pasta

  • 3 TBSP unsalted butter

  • 1 TSP cracked black pepper

  • 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

  • 3/4 cup finely grated Pecorino cheese


  • Boil 3 quarts of water and add pasta.
  • Cook for 10 minutes (al dente), stirring occasionally.
  • Drain and reserve 1.25 cups of water from cooked pasta.
  • In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat.
  • Add cracked pepper and brown for 1 minute.
  • Add pasta water to the pan and bring to a simmer.
  • Add Parmesan cheese and stir until melted.
  • Add Pecorino cheese and stir until melted.
  • Remove from heat and toss in pasta, using tongs, until fully coated.


  • Blend the cheeses to create the sauce before adding it to the pasta.

Final Thoughts on Making Cacio e Pepe

In conclusion, making authentic cacio e pepe is a delightful culinary adventure that brings together simplicity and sophistication.

By combining just a handful of ingredients, such as pasta, cheese, and black pepper, you can create a dish that is both comforting and indulgent.

The key lies in the technique of emulsifying the cheese and pasta water to create a creamy, luscious sauce that coats each strand of spaghetti.

Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a novice in the kitchen, preparing cacio e pepe allows you to savor the essence of Italian cuisine and experience the joy of creating a timeless classic.

So, gather your ingredients, embrace the art of simplicity, and indulge in the flavors of this timeless Roman dish. Buon appetito!

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