This is probably the easiest recipe I’ve ever posted, but it is honestly one of my favorites. For one, I love pasta. Two, I absolutely adore black pepper and throw it on everything. Three, there’s cheese. And that’s just about all the required ingredients for this recipe. Cacio e Pepe is a dish you’d commonly find in Rome and it’s really beautiful in its simplicity. And thus, it’s perfect for a weeknight meal when I don’t have a lot of ingredients on hand.
That leads me into talking about a new segment I want to start doing called pantry pasta. Being a blogger is a tough balance between wanting to create new content and keeping my evenings simple. It’s always a mad dash in my house to get a recipe written, made, photographed, edited, posted, etc. And beyond that, it gets expensive. I want to start creating a pasta recipe once a week, or every other week that is less than 10 ingredients with stuff people often have on hand in the pantry or fridge. Sometimes it’ll incorporate a seasonal veggie if I’m trying to clean out the fridge.
I hope this will help to encourage people to try new things and cook with things they have on hand rather than go out and buy a bunch of unnecessary ingredients. Cooking should be fun and intuitive and all about adapting based on what you’ve got. Some of the best meals I’ve made have come at a chopped-esque time when I’m throwing random things together from the fridge and pantry. I’m not following a recipe, I’m just putting things that I like together. Stay tuned for more simple pasta recipes!
Now, back to the cacio e pepe. If you haven’t made this dish before and you’re nervous about trying something new, this recipe was this week’s recipe of the week on my instagram and I made it start to finish in my instagram stories, now saved to my highlights. You can head here to watch it step-by-step if you’re more of a visual learner. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!
Products I used in this recipe:
I love a simple weeknight pasta for dinner and cacio e pepe is the perfect dinner for two!
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 oz spaghetti or bucatini
- 1 1/2 cups reserved pasta water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Fill a pasta pot with 3 quarts water and season with the kosher salt. Cook the pasta to al dente, usually a couple of minutes shy of what the box says. You want the pasta to have a little bite, but be cooked all the way through. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the pasta water in a measuring cup and then drain the pasta.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the pepper and cook for 1 minute (this helps to wake up the flavors). Add 2/3 cup of the pasta water to the pan and simmer for 2 minutes or so to reduce slightly. When you drag your spoon across the bottom of the pan, you should see the pan exposed and the water shouldn’t run immediately back together.
- Add the pasta to the pan and stir to coat, if the pan is dry add a little more water. Add the parmesan and egg yolk and stir really well to melt the cheese and disperse the egg. If the pasta is dry, add a little more pasta water. The sauce should be very creamy at this point. Add salt to your taste, if necessary but there is lots of salt in the parmesan and the pasta water so keep that in mind before adding more. Serve topped with more parmesan and pepper if desired.
Freshly grinding the pepper is very important for the flavor of the dish.
You can double or even triple the recipe to feed more people.
Pro tip for grating parmesan: throw chunks of the parmesan in the food processor and pulse until it’s finely ground. I love the texture and it melts better and saves you time.