Cacio e Pepe – Family Fresh Meals


Comfort food couldn’t get simpler than this Cacio e Pepe pasta dish. But don’t fooled, “simple” in this context certainly doesn’t take anything away from this recipe!Cacio e Pepe on a plate with fork

It’s a melt-in-your-mouth cheesy noodle delight that will have everyone begging for seconds or thirds and is perfect for whenever you’re craving a great pasta dish that requires only a few ingredients.

Serve this minimalist pasta dish with a leafy green side salad, some garlic bread or roasted vegetables. Otherwise enjoy it entirely on its own.

And if you’re looking for creating some of your own variations then think about adding in chopped vegetables, some protein of your choice (such as bacon, sausage, shrimp or salmon) or additional seasoning and flavors through the use of minced garlic, lemon juice or pesto or dried herbs.

TIPS FOR MAKING CACIO E PEPE

  • Pecorino cheese is the traditional choice of cheese for this dish although I’ve used parmesan because it was more readily available and it was delicious (It also makes a good substitute). 
  • While you can use grated cheese from the grocery store or have grated your own a day or two ahead of time, I always find that freshly grated cheese is best for melting more smoothly and for flavor.
  • Stick with using freshly cracked pepper and not ground pepper. Ground pepper has been exposed to oxygen which takes away from the flavor while the cracked pepper offers a much richer flavor. If you do use finely ground pepper, you’ll probably need to adjust the amounts since it won’t have the same flavor impact as freshly cracked pepper.

How to Make Cacio e Pepe

  1.  Add 1 teaspoon salt to a pot of boiling water and add spaghetti. Cook according to package instructions until done (al dente is preferred).ingredients for Cacio e pepe
  2. Before draining pasta, remove 2 cups of the boiling, starchy pasta water from the pan and set aside. Drain remaining water from pasta and discard.ladle scooping up pasta water from pot
  3. Add the butter and 1 cup of the reserved pan water back into the pot with the pasta. Swirl gently to combine.adding tabs of butter to pot with pasta
  4. As the butter melts, add half of the cheese and 1 teaspoon of pepper to the pasta and continue stirring. The pasta will become creamy as the cheese and butter melt into the hot pasta water.butter mixed into pasta
  5. Add the remaining cheese and additional pepper if you’d like and stir until the ingredients are well combined and most of the cheese has melted into the sauce.adding remaining cheese and additional pepper
  6. Serve immediately. Garnish with a sprinkle of cheese, salt, and/or pepper if you’d like.Cacio e Pepe on a plate with fork

Other Delicious Pasta Dishes For Those Comfort Food Cravings

WHAT DOES CACIO E PEPE MEAN?

  • Translated from Italian it literally means “cheese and pepper”. It’s a staple Italian pasta dish – probably because it’s super easy to make and so incredibly delish! 

WHY DO YOU ADD PASTA WATER WITH THE BUTTER TO THE COOKED PASTA?

  • Great question! Using the reserved pasta water means that you have some remaining starch to work with (that came from cooking your pasta) which helps to thicken your butter-cheese pasta sauce.

CAN I STORE AND REHEAT THIS PASTA?

  • Yes, of course! You can easily store any leftovers of this pasta dish in an airtight container once fully cooled and place it in your refrigerator for 1 – 2 weeks although I’d suggest eating the leftovers within that same week of having made it for freshness sake. 
  • You can also store your Cacio e pepe in the freezer for up to 2 months – no longer than that though otherwise the structure of your noodles will start to deteriorate. 
  • To reheat your Cacio e Pepe, place it in the microwave at 30 second intervals on high  or on the stove top till heated through. In both instances, you should add a splash of water per serving size of pasta prior to heating and then stir it in once the pasta has already commenced reheating. This will help to thin out the sauce which would have thickened through storing in cooler temperatures. 
  • We also love to pack our leftovers up for lunch with these lunchboxes. (affiliate link) Cacio e Pepe packed in a lunchbox with salad and fruit

 

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Cacio e Pepe on a plate with fork

Cacio e Pepe

Comfort food couldn’t get simpler than this Cacio e Pepe recipe. But don’t fooled, “simple” in this context doesn’t take anything away from this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. spaghetti noodles
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter cut into pieces
  • 1 cup finely grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
  • 1-2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper

Instructions

  • Add 1 teaspoon salt to a pot of boiling water and add spaghetti. Cook according to package instructions until done (al dente is preferred).

  • Before draining pasta, remove 2 cups of the boiling, starchy pasta water from the pan and set aside. Drain remaining water from pasta and discard.

  • Add the butter and 1 cup of the reserved pan water back into the pot with the pasta. Swirl gently to combine.

  • As the butter melts, add half of the cheese and 1 teaspoon of pepper to the pasta and continue stirring. The pasta will become creamy as the cheese and butter melt into the hot pasta water.

  • Add the remaining cheese and additional pepper if you’d like and stir until the ingredients are well combined and most of the cheese has melted into the sauce.

  • Serve immediately. Garnish with a sprinkle of cheese, salt, and/or pepper if you’d like.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 409kcal (20%)Carbohydrates: 43g (14%)Protein: 16g (32%)Fat: 19g (29%)Saturated Fat: 11g (55%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 47mg (16%)Sodium: 1085mg (45%)Potassium: 153mg (4%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 2g (2%)Vitamin A: 545IU (11%)Calcium: 312mg (31%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

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