This Italian browned butter Bucatini Cacio e Pepe pasta is one of the easiest pasta recipes you’ll ever make!

Bucatini Cacio e Pepe pasta on a black plate.

What is Cacio e Pepe

This pasta dish literally means “pepper and cheese.” So yes, it’s absolutely delicious and yes, you’ll want seconds and thirds, and maybe fourths.

I say this from experience.

What cheese should you use to make Bucatini Cacio e Pepe? 

Cacio e pepe is made with Pecorino Romano or parmesan cheese. If you want a sharp flavor, use pecorino cheese. I opted for parmigiano reggiano (real parmesan cheese, rather than imitation parmesan).

To get a delicious balance you can use half pecorino and half parmigiana reggiano to make the bucatini Cacio e Pepe.

 

 

What kind of pasta is used to make Cacio e Pepe?

Considering this is a bucatini Cacio e Pepe recipe we are using bucatini pasta. However, some grocery stores might not carry this pasta variety; if you can’t find bucatini pasta use spaghetti or linguini pasta.

How to make bucatini Cacio e Pepe pasta

Ok so we’re obviously getting lots of flavor from the cheese, the freshly cracked black pepper, and the salty (and starchy) pasta water; but to add another depth and level of flavor we BROWN THE BUTTER!

Yes, this is a browned butter Cacio e Pepe and I’m telling it’s amazing. But seriously, everything is better when you brown the butter. No joke. Exhibit A: brown butter chocolate chip cookies.

A skillet with bucatini pasta and grated parmesan cheese.

Step 1: Cook the pasta

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Once boiling add salt, lots of salt. You want the water to be heavily salted, we are using the starchy pasta water to create the pasta sauce.

Place the pasta in the water and cook until about 1 minute shy of al dente.

Drain the pasta, reserving roughly 3 cups of pasta water.

Step 2: Make the butter and cheese sauce

In a large skillet melt the butter over medium to medium lo wheat. Once melted add the pepper.

Stir the butter and pepper and continue cooking until the butter starts to foam. Continue cooking for another minute or 2 or until the butter turns a light amber color.

Add 1 cup of the pasta water and bring this to a simmer. (Once you add the water it will get really bubbly, so be careful)!

Slowly stir in 1 cup of the finely grated cheese, stirring so that the sauce stays smooth.

Kitchen tongs turning bucatini pasta in the Cacio e Pepe sauce.

 

Step 3: Stir in the pasta

Using kitchen tongs, add the cooked pasta, tossing to coat in the sauce. Add the remaining cheese and additional pasta water (enough to create a smooth and saucy sauce). I used about 2 1/2 cups of pasta water.

Note: As the pasta sits, it soaks up the pasta water. If you don’t eat the pasta immediately after making it, you’ll probably find yourself needing to add additional pasta water to the dish to keep the saucy consistency. (So basically, don’t toss the pasta water until AFTER you’ve finished eating). 😉

Step 4: Serve!

Serve the browned butter Cacio e Pepe with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy!

A fork and spoon twirling bucatini Cacio e Pepe pasta.

I have so many yummy pasta recipes you should try, here are a few:

If you make this recipe or any other recipe on the blog please come back and leave a review. It helps myself and other readers so much! Thank you thank you!

Print Review
5 from 1 vote

Bucatini Cacio e Pepe

This flavorful pasta dish is so easy to make!
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients
 

  • 16 oz Bucatini pasta - can use spaghetti or linguini if you can't find Bucatini
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper - can add more when you taste it at the end
  • 2 1/4 cups Parmegiano Reggiano - or Romano pecorino, see note 1.
  • reserved pasta water - will need about 3 cups worth

Instructions
 

  • Bring a large pot of water to boil. Once boiling add salt (you want the water to be heavily salted).
  • Place the pasta in the water and cook, stirring occasionally until about 1 minute shy of al dente. 
  • Drain the pasta, reserving roughly 3 cups of the pasta water. 
  • In a large skillet melt the butter, over medium to medium low heat. Once melted add the pepper. Stir the butter and pepper and continue cooking until the butter starts to foam. Continue cooking for another minute or 2, or until the butter turns a light amber color. 
  • Stir in 1 cup of the pasta water, bring to a simmer. Slowly stir in 1 cup of the finely grated cheese, stirring so that the sauce stays smooth. 
  • Using kitchen tongs, add the cooked pasta, tossing to coat in the sauce. Add the remaining cheese and additional pasta water to create a smooth and saucy sauce (I add roughly 1 1/2 more cups, but it varies). See note 2.

Notes

Notes: 
  1. The romano will give a different flavor but it's another popular cheese used to make cacio e pepe.
  2. As the pasta sits, it's soaks up the pasta water. If you don't eat the pasta immediately after making it, you'll probably find yourself needing to add additional pasta water to the dish to keep the saucy consistency. (So basically, don't toss the pasta water until AFTER you've finished eating). 😉

Nutrition

Calories: 433kcal (22%)Carbohydrates: 43g (14%)Protein: 18g (36%)Fat: 20g (31%)Saturated Fat: 12g (60%)Cholesterol: 55mg (18%)Sodium: 435mg (18%)Potassium: 162mg (5%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 2g (2%)Vitamin A: 598IU (12%)Calcium: 327mg (33%)Iron: 1mg (6%)
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
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