Perfect in its minimalism, cacio e pepe, directly translated as cheese and pepper, is a real crowd-pleaser, great for a family meal or a dinner that doubles as lunch the next day. For that buttery taste with less fat, this version combines olive oil and butter in a 2:1 combo. A key to this dish is using freshly ground pepper, so get out your pepper mill and grind away. 

Ingredients

  • 6 Ounce pasta like pappardelle, linguini, or spaghetti
  • 3 Tablespoon olive oil, plus more for the pasta
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 Cup grated pecorino Romano cheese

Preparation

Step 1:

Bring a pot of water to boil, drizzle in some olive oil, and season with a palmful of salt. Cook until al dente, about 8 minutes.

Step 2:

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil and butter on medium heat. Add the pepper (I usually just grind it in directly) and let cook for a few minutes on low heat.

Step 3:

When the pasta is al dente, use a pasta ladle to transfer the pasta directly from the water to the sauté pan. Toss quickly with the olive oil, butter, and pepper over medium-low heat.

Step 4:

Add in about a 1/4 cup of the pasta water, the cheese, and salt to taste, then keep tossing the pasta until the sauce thickens. Add more pasta water if too dry.

Step 5:

Serve with extra cheese on top and grind on some more pepper if you want.