the original recipe of the Roman first course

The cacio e pepe pasta recipe in Rome is a real institution: here’s how to prepare this traditional first course to perfection.

Today we are going to discover the original recipe of spaghetti cacio e pepe, a typical pasta of the Roman culinary tradition. Beloved throughout Italy, this dish is one of the most famous first coursestogether with the carbonara, the gricia and the amatriciana, but among the four it is the simplest and for which the fewest ingredients are needed to prepare.

In reality, its simplicity is only apparent, and indeed, precisely because there are only two main ingredients, other than pasta, the difficulty lies precisely in balance them perfectly, and in creating a savory and creamy sauce at the right point. In fact, the pitfalls are just around the corner: cooking, lump formation, excess salt… in short, if you want to discover all the secrets for preparing this pasta to perfection, you’re in the right place. Let’s start right away and see the recipe for spaghetti cacio e pepe alla romana!

cheese and black pepper
cheese and black pepper

Preparation of cacio e pepe pasta: original recipe

What kind of cheese is Cacio? Although many use the word cheese to refer to cheese in general, only the cheese is used to make this pasta pecorino romano!

cook spaghetti
Cacio e pepe step point 1

1. Start by putting the water on for the pasta, remembering to salt it a little in order not to risk obtaining a too savory pasta. Don’t worry, the pecorino will take care of the taste!

Cacio e pepe step point 2
Cacio e pepe step point 2

2. At this point, take care of the messenger: then take the form e grate itthen leave the cheese aside.

Cacio e pepe step point 3
Cacio e pepe step point 3

3. Take the peppercorns and crush them roughly (you can use a meat tenderizer or a grinder). While the pasta is cooking put a pan on the fire and pour in a good spoonful of ground pepper.
4. Leave it toast about 2 minutesthen add a ladle of cooking water and lower the heat.
5. Drain the pasta al dente directly into the pan, and cook it by adding a ladle of still boiling water from the pot. Let it absorb, stirring often and, if the spaghetti is still hard, add 1 more ladle and continue with the risotto cooking.
6. Now you have to create the classic cream cheese, and to do that you have to MELT cheese with water. But how to avoid the formation of lumps, and create that very unpleasant glue effect? Simple, with thecooking water: the starch released by the pasta, in fact, will hinder the tendency of the proteins to coagulate on contact with heat. To do this, add a ladle to the cheese, directly in a bowl, and mix vigorously with a spoon.
7. Turn off the heat, pour the cream into the pan and stir with tongs or a spoon.

Cacio e pepe step point 5
Cacio e pepe step point 5

8. All you have to do is add more black pepper to taste and serve the pasta immediately. The dish is ready, bon appetit!

If you liked this recipe, here’s the preparation video!

If you own it and want to try a different technique, we advise you to also try the cacio e pepe with the Thermomix: you will be amazed without words!

Cacio e pepe recipe: tips for use

cheese and black pepper
cheese and black pepper

Clearly, as you may have seen, creaminess must be the main attribute of this pasta, which otherwise would be a simple white pasta with a sprinkling of pepper and cheese on top. But if you want other tricks, here are some tricks e advice for a perfect result.

  • It will seem trivial, but the use of quality raw materials it is one of the basic rules. First of all, which pecorino do you use for cacio e pepe? The choice must fall on a pecorino romano that is not too seasoned, since the more it is, the more you risk the formation of lumps. For pepper, on the other hand, the best choice would be to buy peppercorns and grind them at home. A tip: for a perfect result, do it toast lightly before grinding it!
  • You just can’t make it creamy? Then try this foolproof method for making cacio e pepe.
  • Finally, a small variant that is prepared in Rome. Some, to give a note of acidity to the dish, conclude the preparation with a grated lemon zest, which balances the flavours, contrasting with the sapidity and fatness of the cheese. Try it, with this move your pasta will be really delicious!

What kind of pasta to use for cacio e pepe?

It’s true, we have a soft spot for spaghetti, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use other types of pasta to prepare this delicious dish from Roman cuisine. So here are some tips, but in general, choose the pasta you like best: the important thing is that it lives up to this splendid gravy and be it able to Of value it.

cacio e pepe with different shapes of pasta: bucatini, rigatoni, pici, tonnarelli
cacio e pepe with different shapes of pasta: bucatini, rigatoni, pici, tonnarelli
  • Bucatini cheese and pepper: if you want to ennoble this sauce and remain a Roma, then bucatini is the pasta for you. These are thick spaghettoni with holes in the center (hence the name) which guarantee a yield greedy e appetizingthanks to the resulting dough more present in the mouth.
  • Rigatoni cacio e pepe: they are the perfect format for those who prefer short cuts. In addition, thanks to the cavity are perfect for holding the gravy: don’t be surprised if they are very popular!
  • Pici cacio e pepe: pici are a long handmade pasta and are typical of Tuscany, mainly in the south of the region. Lazio here goes beyond its borders therefore meets another Italian specialtya type of pasta made only with water, flour and salt, sometimes with eggs.
    Being long and full-bodied spaghetti, with this type of pasta you will still give more flavor in every bite, a bit like we told you for bucatini!
  • Tonnarelli cacio e pepe: many say that the best recipe is made with tonnarelli. Here we are dealing with an egg pasta, therefore intense and tasty, with a porous consistency and that they satisfy the palate with every forkful.
    Perhaps you have already heard of them with the name of spaghetti alla chitarra, and the reason is the tool with which they are made, the guitar to be precise, a wooden frame on which they are tension of the steel wires.

Se love this recipe, also try the risotto with cheese and pepper from Cannavacciuolo: it won’t disappoint you! Fans of the chef can also have fun with Cannavacciuolo cacio e pepe: a simple but with a secret ingredient that you do not imagine!


This dish is at its best just prepared. If you have any leftover, you can keep it in a tightly closed container for a couple of days. The next day, however, the cheese in contact with the heat will congeal into a single block, to avoid ruining the dish we advise you to transform it into a pasta omelette!

And if, like us, you are madly in love with this dish, we cannot fail to recommend our carbonara: here are all the tricks to make it perfect!

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