Eat Pray Love (2010): Cacio e Pepe Pasta Sauce

Cacio e Pepe Pasta

In the hit movie Eat Pray Love, Julia Roberts plays Elizabeth Gilbert, a woman who embarks on a journey of self-discovery through Italy, India, and Bali. While in Rome, Elizabeth indulges in the local cuisine, and one dish that stands out is Cacio e Pepe pasta. This delicious dish features a simple yet flavorful sauce made from just a few ingredients: pasta water, grated Pecorino Romano cheese, black pepper, and pasta.

Cacio e Pepe translates to “cheese and pepper,” and this dish is a classic example of Italian simplicity and elegance. It’s said to have originated in the region of Lazio, which includes Rome, and is traditionally made with long strands of spaghetti or tonnarelli pasta. The sauce itself is made by mixing the grated cheese and black pepper together, then adding in a ladleful of starchy pasta water to create a creamy, emulsified sauce that coats the pasta strands.

One of the things that makes Cacio e Pepe pasta so special is its use of Pecorino Romano cheese, a salty and sharp cheese made from sheep’s milk. This cheese is a staple in many Italian dishes and adds a bold flavour to the pasta sauce. Black pepper is the other key ingredient, providing a subtle but distinct heat that pairs perfectly with the cheese.

While the recipe for Cacio e Pepe pasta may seem simple, it’s actually quite challenging to get the sauce just right. The pasta water must be added slowly and whisked vigorously to ensure the cheese doesn’t clump and the sauce stays creamy. The pasta should also be al dente, or slightly firm, to provide a good contrast to the sauce.

If you’re interested in trying to make Cacio e Pepe pasta at home, it’s important to use high-quality ingredients. Look for imported Pecorino Romano cheese, and freshly cracked black pepper. Use high-quality pasta, like De Cecco or Barilla, and follow the instructions carefully to cook it to the perfect texture.

Cacio e Pepe pasta is a delicious and satisfying dish that is perfect for a cozy night in or a fancy dinner party. Its simplicity and elegance make it a classic Italian dish that is sure to impress your guests. So why not channel your inner Elizabeth Gilbert and give it a try? Who knows, it might just inspire your own journey of self-discovery. Buon Appetito!

How to prepare a creamy Cacio e Pepe Pasta Sauce

Course: MainDifficulty: X

Cacio e Pepe literally means “cheese and pepper,” and this minimalist pasta couldn’t be any easier or more delicious! It’s an Italian favourite originating in Rome that requires technical prowess – but don’t worry, I’ve sorted, tested and experimented with various methods to bring you WHAT WORKS for the creamiest Cacio e Pepe recipe every time. To make a creamy Cacio e Pepe, Pecorino Romano is mixed with pasta water, butter and freshly cracked pepper to create a luxuriously emulsified creamy pepper sauce that’s out of this world. Twirl in your pasta and you have dinner on the table in minutes. Cacio Pepe is the ultimate quick and easy dinner the whole family will LOVE, crave and beg for again and again!


  • 1 tbsp Kosher salt

  • 6 oz Pasta ((such as egg bucatini, or spaghetti))

  • 3 tbsp Unsalted butter, cubed, divided

  • ¾ cup Finely grated Grana Padano or Parmesan

  • ⅓ cup Finely grated Pecorino


  • Bring 3 quarts of 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 2 Tbsp. butter in a Dutch oven or other large pot or skillet over medium heat. Add pepper and cook, swirling pan, until toasted, about 1 minute.
  • Add ½ cup reserved pasta water to the skillet and bring to a simmer. Add pasta and remaining butter. Reduce heat to low and add Grana Padano, stirring and tossing with tongs until melted. Remove pan from heat; add Pecorino, stirring and tossing until cheese melts, sauce coats the pasta, and pasta is al dente. (Add more pasta water if the sauce seems dry.) Transfer pasta to warm bowls and serve.

Recipe Video


  • I wasn’t familiar with Cacio e Pepe, and now I am obsessed! It was oneveryrestaurant menu in Rome because it is pure addicting, creamy, tangy, slurp-worthy comfort food (and perfect for upcoming Valentine’s Day!). I promise you will crave it like crazy – I’m sorry and you’re welcome.