Bucatini Cacio e Pepe (Cheese and Black Pepper)

30 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 1x


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 pound bucatini (or spaghetti)

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  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
  2. Coat the bottom of a large skillet with the olive oil.
  3. Add the Pecorino to a bowl.
  4. Cook the pasta until al dente (about 2 minutes less than the package directions). While it’s cooking, take 3-4 tablespoons of the water and mix into the Pecorino, creating a creamy mixture. Stir in the pepper. Drain the pasta and reserve some of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the oiled skillet over low heat, making sure not to fry the spaghetti, but rather only to coat it with oil. Mix in the cheese and pepper, and add a bit more of the reserved cooking water, as necessary, until a creamy consistency is achieved.
  5. Serve immediately. Add more pepper to taste.


You may need to practice a couple of times to get the right mixture and consistency. Also, Caveat Cheese Emptor: the word cacio is used for cheese in Lazio, so be aware that the brand Cacio de Roma is not what you need, despite its name. Use a good Pecorino Romano, freshly grated.

Ed's Review

Meet my friends, Bucatini Cacio and Pepe. Cacio is pale white, from the countryside outside of Rome. Pepe is black as night, of mysterious origins. Their relationship is still taboo in most of America. As a matter of fact, I’ve never seen them together outside of New York (where there is a restaurant named in their honor). If they ever were to make it down South, who knows what the reaction would be…  Oh my!

Actually, this should come as no surprise because one in the relationship is very salty and the other very peppery, and together, they can be downright explosive — a real shock to the senses for the unfamiliar. Now in Rome, where minds are more open, Cacio and Pepe can be found on almost every corner, like Dolce & Gabbana. Usually seen with their friends, Spaghetti and Tonnarelli, they make everyone happy. We can only hope that someday Bucatini Cacio and Pepe will be fully accepted in America.

Buon Appetito!
Ed Garrubbo

5 thoughts on “Bucatini Cacio e Pepe (Cheese and Black Pepper)”

  1. When in Roma I always order Cacio e Pepe!There is a great little hole in the wall place in the San Giovani neighborhood that I always stop in for this dish, perfetto! When home here in Santa Fe, New Mexico, I make it on a weekly basis, just as you have written, that of the way true Roman’s make it! I get my pecorino formaggio from whole foods, always buying the real stuff, not the Americanized Romano!! YukkkKKK!!

    Buon appetito!Thanks for sharing, grazie!

  2. Really love your recipes.

    My cousin sent me this recipe from Rome, right before I could no longer eat “fat” so was never able to make it. I hope soon I can start eating normally again!

    Watched them make this the other morning on an Italian cooking show on RAI. Interesting way – they added the water to the cheese and pepper in a small bowl and make a “Cremina” and then added it to the spaghetti. It amalgamated beautifully.

  3. Ed, we just made this tonight. Simple, but delicious. I am a pepper fiend that the rest of my family looks at askance. So for me it was five stars (also I cooked it mostly and to quote every dish my wife Claudia ever makes “I think that was very good” she says at which point I add “If I don’t say so myself.” LOL). Beyond the taste, so happy and glad you have found your passion and a way to express it. It delights me.

    • Hi Rick,
      Thanks so much for the note!! And i hope you liked the pasta… one of my favorites. Yes, very happy writing about pasta….
      hope you’re well, lets catch up soon,


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