Cacio e Pepe Recipe — In case you’re looking for the perfect date night pasta, a pasta recipe called “cacio e pepe” is it! This simple cacio e pepe pasta recipe is a classic dinner idea that both the kids and adults will love…
This pasta dish literally translates to “cheese and pepper”, and it’s the perfect minimalist date night pasta that only requires 5 ingredients and all of 10 minutes to make.
Since no one wants to fuss in the kitchen on a romantic night in, put this pasta on your must-make list. It’s a simple, classic easy dinner idea that’s always a hit!
How can you go wrong with finely grating cheese and pasta? Even those of you who don’t enjoy cooking will find joy with this recipe. It’s practically fool-proof and will impress anyone you end up serving it to.
Trust me, I’ve served this to many a dinner dates over the years, all with rave reviews…
What Is Cacio e Pepe?
Cacio e pepe is a classic Italian pasta recipe that’s made with pasta noodles, salted water, butter, 1/2 cup of cheese, and fresh ground pepper.
It’s as simple as bringing the water to a boil, add the pasta, and season with salt until the pasta is al dente. The magic of this recipe is in using half of the pasta cooking water.
You’ll grate the cheese of your choice and combine it with a cup of reserved pasta water in a skillet over medium heat.
The starch leftover from the pasta water coats the pasta and helps the butter and cheese mixture to stick. Pretty cool kitchen trick, right?!
What Ingredients To Use for Cacio e Pepe Pasta
Of course, there’s a little more to this simple pasta dish when it comes to picking out the best ingredients! The magic is all in the cheese and pasta selections.
This version is made with pecorino romano cheese, but you can also use parmigiano reggiano.
Other Ingredient Options For Cacio e Pepe Pasta
- Pecorino romano cheese
- Parmigiano reggiano cheese
- Grana padano cheese
- Freshly ground pepper
- Salted or unsalted butter
- Black sea salt
- Bucatini pasta
- Fettucini pasta
- Spaghetti pasta
- Add chopped spinach for extra greens
- Add your favorite dinner protein
What To Pair With Cacio e Pepe
While this pasta dinner is meant to be served by itself, you could easily use it as a base for your favorite dinner proteins and greens as well.
For the ultimate date-night in, enjoy with a bottle of your favorite red wine (and maybe a salad to balance all that cheese!).
A classic Chianti or Sangiovese will balance the peppery pasta just perfectly.
You can also serve it alongside our staple zero carb bread recipe and a little olive oil for a guilt-free dipping side!
Ideas For Cacio e Pepe Pairings:
- Olive oil and bread with garlic
- Pinot Grigio
- Italian chicken
- Sauteed greens
- Top with finely grated cheese
How Long Does Cacio e Pepe Pasta Last
If you’re going to spend time making a nice dinner, it never hurts to save a bit for later!
You can store your cacio e pepe pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator and ideally use it all within three days.
How To Reheat Your Pasta
There are several tried and true ways to reheat your favorite pasta dishes.
You can bake them in the oven, reheat them on the stove, or our least favorite but easiest, microwave them.
For baking, put the pasta in a shallow bowl, cover with foil, and bake at 350 degrees for twenty minutes. You’ll do the same for the microwave but you’ll only need to allot 30 to 60 seconds depending on your serving size.
For a saucepan, keep the pasta covered and reheat on medium to low while stirring occasionally until it’s completely warm.
With any of these methods, be sure to keep the pasta dish covered while reheating so that the moisture remains as to not dry out your favorite recipe.
Besides the perfect date-night dish, this pasta makes an excellent last-minute meal whenever the craving strikes.
Healthier than fettuccini alfredo, but just as delicious, this is comfort food done right. What’s your go-to date night meal?
In case you’re looking for more easy dinner ideas, here are a few of our favorites —
- The best easy meatloaf recipe
- Pair it with a zero carb bread to cut down on some calories
- Serve the best chocolate chip cookie recipe for dessert
- A classic snickerdoodle recipe
- Easy rosemary baked lemon chicken recipe
How to Make Date Night Cacip e Pepe Pasta Recipe
Date Night Cacio e Pepe
- Pasta pan
- Pasta strainer
- 8 oz pasta (either fresh fettuccini, bucatini or spaghetti)
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano (can sub Parmigiano Reggiano)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. For the best tasting pasta, liberally salt the pot of water before you add the pasta. This will reduce the amount of salt you need to add later or create flavorful strands of pasta before you add the sauce.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and cook until melted. Stir in the freshly cracked black pepper and reduce heat to low, stirring often.
- Drain the pasta, reserving ½ cup of the cooked pasta water. This part is essential! You want the starchy pasta water to help the sauce cling to the cooked noodles. Add the ½ cup of water to the melted butter pan and stir to combine.
- Remove the pan from heat and add in the drained pasta along with the freshly grated cheese and toss to combine. Divide into bowls and serve immediately!