Cacio de Pepe is a buttery, peppery pasta dish this is elegant yet simple. This dish has bold flavors that pair beautifully with a good pinot noir. Serve this meal as for a date-night in or as an easy holiday meal!
During a normal holiday season, my husband and I have a gift-buying date night. We treat ourselves to a quiet dinner at a trendy new restaurant while we plot our gift-buying strategy. It is a fun way to reconnect and to begin celebrating holidays.
This year will be different. While we won’t be dining out, there is no reason we cannot treat ourselves to an elegant meal and a good bottle of wine at home.
This Cacio de Pepe pasta is the ideal meal, it is easy and quick, but packs a flavorful punch. Erath Pino Noir is a smooth complement to the buttery, peppery pasta dish!
What Is Cacio de Pepe?
Cacio de Pepe is an Italian pasta dish whose title means “cheese and pepper”. As the name suggests, the ingredients of the dish are black pepper, grated cheese, and spaghetti…and lots of butter!
This recipe is very easy to make and chances you are you already have everything you need right in your pantry!
How To Make Cacio de Pepe
STEP ONE – Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a 5-qt. pot. Season with salt; add pasta and cook until the pasta is al dente. Drain, reserve ¾ cup pasta cooking water, set aside.
STEP TWO – Meanwhile, melt 8 Tbsp. butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add pepper and cook, swirling pan, until toasted, about 1 minute.
STEP THREE – Add the 3/4 cup reserved pasta water to the skillet and bring to a simmer. Add pasta and remaining butter.
STEP FOUR – Reduce heat to low and add the cheese, stirring and tossing with tongs until the butter has melted and the sauce coats the pasta. Remove pan from heat. (Add more pasta water if the sauce seems dry.)
Transfer pasta to bowls and serve with extra freshly grated cheese and freshly cracked black pepper if desired.
What Wine To Pair With Cacio de Pepe
I chose to pair my wine with Erath Winery Pinot Noir. The flavor of this wine is fruity yet earthy. It tastes so smooth and silky and provided a nice backdrop to the peppery pasta.
The pinot’s fruity taste is the perfect match for Parmesan cheese and it’s uniquely nutty flavor. The combination of the wine and pasta together gives each bite balance and harmony; all this without leaving your home!
Erath Pinot Noir is made in Oregon and can be easily found at most grocery stores (I found mine at my local Kroger store).
Recipe Tips and Suggestions
I used bucatini pasta for the recipe. I like bucatini because it is a “meatier” pasta. Spaghetti, taglioni, or angel hair are all good options.
Romano cheese can be used in place of or with Parmesan cheese.
This recipe does call for quite a bit of butter, you can cut back, but the pasta will be less saucy.
Do not use regular water, use the water from the pasta! The pasta water has all the starch that the pasta gave off while cooking, that starch will help thicken your sauce!
What To Serve With Cacio de Pepe
Since this meal has a lot of flavor, keep it simple! A plainly dressed salad and some crusty bread are really all you need (aside from more Erath Pinot Noir).
- 16 oz. pasta (such as tagliolini, bucatini, or spaghetti)
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed, divided
- 2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan
- Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a 5-qt. pot. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 2 minutes before tender. Drain, reserving ¾ cup pasta cooking water.
- Meanwhile, melt 8 Tbsp. butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add pepper and cook, swirling pan, until toasted, about 1 minute.
- Add the 3/4 cup reserved pasta water to the skillet and bring to a simmer. Add pasta and remaining butter.
- Reduce heat to low and grated cheese, stirring and tossing with tongs until the butter and cheese have melted.
- Remove pan from heat; (Add more pasta water if sauce seems dry.) Transfer pasta to bowls and serve. Serve additional grated cheese and freshly cracked pepper on the side.
Amount Per Serving Calories 618Total Fat 44gSaturated Fat 27gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 14gCholesterol 118mgSodium 570mgCarbohydrates 40gFiber 2gSugar 1gProtein 16g