“Cacio e Pepe” simply translates to “Cheese and Pepper” and the simple combination of these ingredients really lets the pasta noodles shine. You want to make sure to cook the noodles al dente so they have a good amount of chewiness.

This is another classic Frank Prisinzano recipe from his classic East Village restaurant Supper. He makes this recipe frequently on his snapchat and instagram stories but as far as I can find he hasn’t written it down explicitly. The closest is his tumblr post in which he says “make a creamy emulsion with the cheese and the pasta water and finish with the black pepper”. Trying to recreate this method using my own measurements, this recipe is the closest I’ve been able to come.

Frank’s pasta recipes are classic and simple, and I love making them– You can check out some of his other recipes I’ve posted about such as his Pasta with Peas, Broccoli Garlic Spaghetti, and his Short Rib Ragú.

I’ve recently tried making my old recipes using whole grain substitutions and this is one that I think turns out beautifully. The incredibly simple sauce (or lack thereof) is enhanced by the chewier texture of the whole wheat pasta. I get my whole wheat pasta fresh from Russo’s in the East Village, but you can also find some great whole grain pastas online. I particularly like the Sfoglini brand, which you can find in many specialty grocery stores, or online.

You can make this with any long noodle, such as linguini. It’s even better if you can find something with a little texture such as a Bucatini or Mafaldini.

  • 8 servings
  • 5 mins
  • 15 mins
  • 20 mins

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces whole wheat pasta noodles, uncooked
  • salt
  • 20 grams pepper, ground
  • 4 ounces grated parmesan or pecorino
  • 6 tablespoons butter

Instructions

  • Grind pepper onto a paper towel using a kitchen scale if necessary.
  • Bring a well salted pot of water to a boil.
  • Boil the noodles according to their provided directions, using the lowest amount of time in the range if possible.
  • Reserve 2 cups of the pasta water before draining.
  • Put the empty pot back on the stove and melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the freshly ground pepper and stir to combine. Toast the papper for one more minute.
  • Add 1 cup of the reserved pasta watter and bring to a simmer.
  • Reduce the heat to low and add the drained pasta and pecorino cheese and the remaining butter. Use tongs to toss the pasta gently to coat the pasta noodles with the cheese and pepper.
  • Remove from heat and add more of the reserved pasta water if the pasta seems dry.