Cacio e Pepe

Chelsea, Chelsea’s Messy Apron

This traditional Italian dish is simple and savory. Butter, cheese, and cracked black pepper are combined to create an easy weeknight dish in under 30 minutes.
15 min Prep Time
10 min Cook Time
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 10 min
  • Servings: 4 servings

Servings: 4 servings


  • 8 ounces pasta (spaghetti or linguine)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cups Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese


Step 1

Cook pasta according to package directions in very generously salted water (use less water than usual to ensure the water gets very starchy and salty). Cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 1 full cup of the pasta cooking water and drain noodles.

Step 2

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add pepper and cook for 30 seconds. Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Slowly add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water while whisking constantly until combined into a sauce.

Step 3

Add in half of drained pasta and toss with tongs vigorously to coat all the noodles. Very gradually, add in half of freshly grated Parmesan and Pecorino cheese while continuing to toss the pasta. Add in the other half of the pasta and then the other half of the cheese.

Step 4

Continue to toss until cheese and pasta are completely combined, adding in a splash of the remaining 1/2 cup reserved pasta water if needed.

Step 5

Taste, and season with extra salt and or pepper as needed, and toss to combine. Serve the pasta warm with additional cheese and pepper as desired.