Fun Facts

Cacio e Pepe Pasta Sauce: A Taste of Italy in Your Kitchen

Cacio e Pepe Pasta Sauce: A Taste of Italy in Your Kitchen

If you’re a pasta lover, you’ve probably heard of the classic Italian dish Cacio e Pepe pasta sauce. This simple yet flavorful sauce is a staple in Roman cuisine and has become increasingly popular in recent years. In this article, we’ll dive into the origins of this dish, how to make it, and some fun facts about its appearances in popular culture.

The Humble Origins of Cacio e Pepe Pasta Sauce

Legend has it that Cacio e Pepe pasta sauce originated in the shepherding communities of central Italy. Shepherds would make this pasta using ingredients that were readily available to them – pecorino cheese (made from sheep’s milk), black pepper, and pasta. Over time, the recipe spread to the city of Rome, where it became a staple dish in the trattorias and osterias (small restaurants) of the city.

How to Make Cacio e Pepe Pasta Sauce

To make Cacio e Pepe pasta sauce, you’ll need just a few simple ingredients: spaghetti, pecorino romano cheese, black pepper, and a little bit of pasta water. The key to making this dish is to create a smooth, creamy sauce that clings to the pasta.

To start, cook the spaghetti in a pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve a cup of the pasta water before draining the spaghetti. In a separate pan, toast black pepper until fragrant. Add some of the pasta water to the pan, then stir in grated pecorino cheese. Keep stirring until the cheese has melted and you have a smooth sauce. Add the spaghetti to the pan and toss with the sauce until the pasta is coated evenly. Serve with an extra sprinkle of black pepper and grated cheese on top.

Fun Facts About Cacio e Pepe Pasta Sauce

Cacio e Pepe pasta sauce has made appearances in popular culture throughout the years. Here are a few fun examples:

  • In the movie Eat Pray Love, the main character Liz Gilbert (played by Julia Roberts) enjoys a plate of Cacio e Pepe pasta while dining in Rome.
  • In the TV show Master of None, the main character Dev (played by Aziz Ansari) attempts to make Cacio e Pepe pasta sauce and hilariously fails.
  • In the book “The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science,” author J. Kenji Lopez-Alt devotes an entire chapter to the science of making perfect Cacio e Pepe pasta sauce.


Cacio e Pepe pasta sauce may be a simple dish, but it’s a classic for a reason. With just a few high-quality ingredients, you can enjoy the flavors of Italy in your own kitchen. Whether you’re a fan of classic Italian cuisine or just looking for a new pasta recipe to try, give Cacio e Pepe pasta sauce a chance – you won’t be disappointed.