Cacio e pepe is practically synonymous with Pecorino Romano -- but Pecorino clumps when cooked. Add it at the end, instead, which also makes the most of its sharp flavor. Lemon adds spunk -- that is, acidity and freshness.

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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until very al dente, about 2 minutes less than called for in package instructions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water before draining.

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  • Transfer pasta to a 12-inch skillet (preferably nonstick). Add butter and 1/2 cup pasta water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. The heat helps the starch in the water meld with the fat from the butter, which prevents the Grana Padano from becoming stringy in the finished dish.

  • Reduce heat to low, and mix in Grana Padano and cracked pepper. Grana Padano is softer than Pecorino Romano; it will melt into the buttery water, creating a sauce as the pasta finishes cooking.

  • Toss pasta with tongs to thoroughly coat it with sauce. Keep everything at a gentle simmer just until cheese melts and sauce thickens slightly, about 1 minute.

  • Remove from heat, then stir in Pecorino Romano. (Always add Pecorino off direct heat; it clumps when cooked.) Zest lemon over the pasta. Any type of lemon will do, but a Meyer is particularly nice in this dish: It's sweeter in flavor and aroma, with back notes of orange and lime. At this time of year, you'll find Meyer lemons at specialty-food stores and some supermarkets.

  • If pasta looks dry, toss it with a bit more pasta water until it has a glossy coating. Divide between 2 warm bowls. Drizzle each with oil and lemon juice, and garnish with more cracked pepper. Serve immediately.

Reviews (2)

35 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 15
  • 4 star values: 10
  • 3 star values: 9
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 2.0 stars
01/25/2020
Have not made yet but plan to do so. PROBLEM: Someone needs to edit the close captioning portion as the English is nonsense way too many times. Might be laughable but I find it just sad, some of us need it for clarification during the video
Rating: Unrated
04/22/2013
How can something this simple be so absolutely amazing? Don't skimp on the ingredients, they are worth every bite.
Rating: 5 stars
04/11/2013
Delicious! I was shocked how fantastic this recipe was. The lemon cuts the intensity of the cheese and it really is creamy and just delicious. We ate it as a main course. I have made it several times and with several kinds of cheeses. The first time I only had parmesan and it was still spectacular. Hint: Make homemade pasta, it is worth the effort. Fresh pasta soaks up the sauces perfectly.
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