Cacio e Pepe with Pancetta and Arugula

"I love how the creste di gallo noodles have lots of nooks and crannies for the cheese and pepper sauce to get stuck in," says Giada.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 40 min
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Kosher salt

1 pound creste di gallo pasta (cockscomb-shaped) or other short pasta

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/3 pound pancetta, diced

1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper

2 cups freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano, plus more (optional) for serving

1 cup freshly grated pecorino cheese

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 cups packed baby arugula, roughly chopped


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook 2 minutes less than the package directions, about 8 minutes. Drain well, reserving 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large straight-sided skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and pancetta. Cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until the pancetta is crisp, about 10 minutes. Add the pepper and toast it, stirring often, for about a minute, or until fragrant. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water and scrape up any bits that are sticking to the bottom of the skillet.
  3. Add the pasta and sprinkle with the parmigiano-reggiano. Add another 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water and stir to coat all of the pasta in the cheese. Add the pecorino and butter and stir to combine, creating a light, creamy cheese sauce. Add the arugula and cook until wilted. Add additional reserved pasta water as needed to maintain the light sauce consistency. Serve with more grated parmigiano-reggiano, if desired.
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