A passion for food + fashion

Cacio e Pepe

In Food, Recipes on September 19, 2009 at 6:10 pm


The last leg of our honeymoon a couple summers ago was spent in Rome, where I ordered cacio e pepe—pasta mixed with pecorino and cracked black pepper—every chance I got. It’s a Roman classic, and the superlative example is served at Ditirambo, near the Campo de Fiore. But it is also also a blasphemous version in that it uses goat cheese instead of the traditional pecorino. Ditirambo serves its cacio e pepe with tonnarelli pasta, sort of like a square spaghetti, which I’ve had trouble finding back here so in a pinch I’ll substitute a fat linguine. While the tanginess of the goat cheese is inspired in this dish, I still love the saltiness of pecorino, so I’ve split the difference and have arrived at the following.

The Foodinista’s Cacio e Pepe

Serves 4 as a main course

17.5 ounces tonnarelli or linguini pasta

1 1/2 cups grated pecorino (or more to taste)

2 ounces goat cheese

3/4 cup reserved pasta water

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Salt the hell out of boiling water, add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 3/4 cup water. Return to pot and add pecorino, goat cheese, 1/2 cup reserved pasta water, and cracked black pepper to taste. (Add additional water if mixture seems dry.) Toss well to melt cheese. Serve with a dry white Italian wine, such as orvieto. I love the 2007 Salviano Orvieto, available at K&L in Hollywood for $12.99.


  1. Had some goat cheese and some parm , but really hesitated b/c I never got behind the ‘pasta water’ addition. “Why not CREAM?” is what I used to say. No longer! This is delish!!

  2. Oh, great to hear! I’ve spoken to many Romans about this dish, and all but one adds pasta water. The renegade uses chicken stock instead as he thinks it makes the mixture a little richer. So you could try that too, but glad to hear you are on board w/ pasta water!

  3. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for this recipe!! I sampled Cacio e Pepe at least 3 nights out of 6 in Rome last May, as I could not get enough of it. Recipes are hard to come by. I loved it at Divinare, in Rome’s Testaccio district. At Ditirambo, the Campo di Fiore restaurant you mention, I was in love with the risotto. But nothing, anywhere beat Cacio e Pepe! Grazie!!

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