This healthier Cacio e PePe is easy, ready in about 20 minutes and will surprise your family and friends with classic Italian flavors. This is one of my personal favorite Italian dishes. I crave the simplicity of the minimal ingredients every time the weather cools down. My version is slightly healthier than the classic. I add lemon juice and garlic to brighten the dish a little. The way I prepare it requires less cheese with the same great flavor.
Why Make This Recipe.
This Cacio e PePe is easy. It is ready in under 20 minutes.
Minimal ingredients. This Cacio e PePe has very minimal ingredients and creates the perfect marriage for a creamy sauce.
Everyone loves this dish. This is a very popular recipe that most everyone loves (even kids!) Cheese, noodles and pepper are a perfect combo.
Lemon. A tiny squeeze of lemon really brightens the flavors in this simple Italian dish. Most Cacio e PePe won't call for lemon and it is certainly optional.
Pasta Water: This works as a nice binder/ thickener for pasta recipes. The starchy water helps a silkyness to sauces.
Pecorino Romano. This cheese is my favorite of all cheeses. It is salty and nutty in flavor.
Olive Oil. You want to use a high quality non bitter olive oil. Some olive oils have a bitterness that will ruin the flavors so be sure to taste test the oil before hand.
How To Make This Recipe.
Step 1: Cook your pasta! As mentioned my version of Cacio e PePe is slightly different than the classic. You will mix together the lemon juice, olive oil garlic, pepper, salt in a small bowl. You will pour leftover pasta water into the mixture to loosen it up and give it more flavor.
Step 2: Whisk together well and pour over your al dente noodles. Al dente means cooked to be slightly still firm when bitten into. I don't like to overcook my pasta because it tends to fall apart.
Step 3: Add in shredded Pecorino Romano and stir well.
FAQs and Expert Tips.
Salt your pasta water! Once you pour the pasta into the boiling water, be sure to add some salt to the water. About 1/4 tsp should do fine. This is your only opportunity to season the pasta.
Yes! Any shape will do great. I prefer rigatoni, penne and spaghetti.
Yes you can.
Yes, it won't be quite the same but if you prefer parmesan and it is easier for you to find than it will work!
Most grocery stores will have it in the specialty cheese department. I find Costco has a great one on the shelves and it's reasonable per pound. Whole Foods, and other speciality groceries will also carry it.
It is very similar to parmesan but it is made from sheep's milk instead of cow's milk. It is hard, salty and has a light nutty flavor to it.
You can eat this pasta on it's own or top it with fresh sautéed scallops or chicken breast.
Other Recipes To Try.
Cacio e PePe
- 4 cups cooked pasta
- 1 cup pecorino
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup pasta water
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- ¼ tsp salt more to taste if needed
- ½ tsp fresh cracked pepper
- 1 tsp fresh parsley for color