Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe is a beloved Roman dish made with things you can easily find in your pantry, but there are as many ways to make it as there are cooks in Italy. In this version, olive oil adds a little grassiness and Parmigiano-Reggiano, in addition to the classic Pecorino-Romano, is used to round out the flavors and add an umami richness. If you don't have Parmigiano in the house, simply make the dish with all Pecorino and lower the salt in your pasta water by a tablespoon.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 25 min
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

1 pound spaghetti, linguine fini or other long pasta

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup grated Pecorino-Romano, plus more for sprinkling

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


  1. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot over high heat and add 4 tablespoons salt. Drop the pasta into the water. After 1 minute, when the pasta begins to soften, stir to prevent the pasta from sticking together and to submerge it completely in the water.
  2. Cook according to the package directions for al dente, stirring occasionally. When the pasta is ready, remove 2 cups of pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta through a colander. 
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then add 2 tablespoons black pepper and cook until the peppercorns begin to warm and become fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in 1/2 cup of the pasta water and then the pasta and stir. Pull the pot off the heat and add the Pecorino and Parmigiano, stirring and tossing vigorously until they melt and the sauce becomes creamy. If the mixture becomes dry, clumpy or stuck together, add more pasta water, 1/4-cup at a time, stirring and tossing until a creamy consistency is reached. (The pasta will thicken as it stands.) Add a little more pasta water at a time to loosen it back up again, if you like. (You might not use all of the pasta water.) 
  4. Serve immediately sprinkled with more Pecorino-Romano and black pepper.
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