A classic Italian dish, this Cacio e Pepe recipe translates to “cheese and pepper pasta.” It’s the mac and cheese of Italy, but even more delicious.
For the Parmesan frico
- 1 1/3 cups packed, freshly grated Parmesan cheese
For the pasta
- 8 ounces dried bucatini
- 3 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for finishing
- 1 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese, divided
- Make the Parmesan frico: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using 2/3 cup Parmesan, form a thick, even 6-inch circle of cheese on the parchment. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cheese melts and is golden. Carefully remove the parchment from the tray and flip over onto an inverted bowl. Peel off the parchment and gently press the Parmesan circle around the inverted bowl. Cool for 30 seconds and then remove. Repeat with the remaining cheese. Frico can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container.
- Heat a large stockpot of heavily salted water. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions.
- While the pasta cooks, melt the butter with 1 teaspoon pepper in a large saute pan set of medium-low heat. Let the pepper infuse for 1 minute and then turn off the heat.
- When the pasta is al dente, before draining, remove a scant 1/2 cup pasta water and add to the butter. Simmer for 2 minutes over low heat.
- Drain the pasta and add to the saute pan, along with 3/4 cup Pecorino cheese. Toss the pasta in the sauce with tongs until the cheese has melted and created a creamy sauce that coats the pasta. If the sauce is still too wet, continue to simmer until the water has reduced and clings to the pasta.
- Place a Parmesan frico at the bottom of two bowls and divide the pasta between them. Finish with the remaining Pecorino and more freshly ground pepper.
By Ashley Rodriguez in Date Night In; reprinted with permission
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: Cacio e Pepe, Cacio e Pepe Recipe, Italian Recipes, Italian Dinner Recipes, Pasta Recipes, Vegetarian Pasta Recipes, Easy Dinner Ideas