This Cacio e Pepe pasta recipe is excellent for a busy weeknight. It is easy, quick, inexpensive, and is the perfect modern comfort food we are all looking for these days.
What is Cacio e Pepe?
Cacio e Pepe means pepper and cheese and the authentic Italian recipe consists only of black pepper and parmesan cheese.
It is one of the most simple and delicious Italian pasta recipes. I like adding mushrooms and bacon to mine for a little extra flavor.
Check out these delicious recipes:
What do you need?
- Your favorite pasta cut – I used spaghetti.
- Seasoning salt – I used Lawry’s (sea salt is fine too)
- Black Pepper – If you have a black pepper mill and you are able to adjust the grind, use coarse.
- Butter –
- Capers (for added salty flavor)
How to make the pasta?
For this recipe, I always start with cooking the bacon in the oven and cutting it into small bits when it is ready. Cook the pasta according to the package. Make sure the water is salted. Then cook the mushrooms and when done mix with the bacon.
When the pasta is cooked, drain and season with the herbs and seasonings. Then you will mix it in the sauce.
How to make the Cacio e Pepe pasta sauce?
When the pasta is ready, make the sauce. I like making it after the pasta is cooked because if I wait, the sauce will get stiff and lose its flavor.
In a pan combine the butter, garlic, and black pepper. Cook until the butter is bubbling. Then add the parmesan cheese and mix. Add the pasta right away and mix until the butter sauce coats the spaghetti.
And it all comes together!
In the end, combine all of that together. Season generously with lime zest and drizzle the lemon juice. I like adding the capers at the very end after I have tried the flavor. Capers are pretty salty so add a little at a time.
Finally, transfer to a bowl and finish with more parmesan. I use Parmegiano Regiano for any recipe that calls for parmesan cheese and I highly recommend it. It’s a little pricier than the standard grated parmesan cheese, but it is totally worth it.
Follow the full recipe below and enjoy! If you are looking for Caio e Pepe wine pairing ideas, try Savignon Blank!
Mushroom & Bacon Cacio e Pepe
- 1 Pack Spaghetti Or your favorite pasta
- 2 Garlic Cloves minced
- 1 Tbsp Oregano
- 1 Tbsp Seasoned Salt such as Lawry's
- 1/2 Tbsp Black Pepper
- 1 Lemon zested & juiced
- 1 Cup Mushrooms chopped
- 6 Pieces Bacon thick cut
- 3/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese finely grated
- 3 Tbsp Butter cubed & devided
- 1/4 Cup Capers
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and on top put a wire rack. Arrange the bacon slices and bake for about 15 minutes.
- Fill a large pot with water and bring to boil. Add a big pinch of salt and add the pasta. Cook over medium heat fr about 15 -20 minues. Or follow the instructions on the package.
- Meanwhile, in a small pot, add a drizzle of olive oil, mushrooms, 1/3 spoon oregano, and a pinch of the seasoning salt. Cook until the mushrooms are done – about 5-10 minutes.
- When the bacon is done, cut it into small bits and mix with the mushrooms.
- When the pasta is done cooking, drain (save 1/2 cup of water) and drizzle lemon juice. Add the lemon zest and the rest of the oregano and seasoned salt. Then mix in the mushrooms and bacon.
- In a pan combine the butter, garlic, and black pepper. Cook for about a minute. Then add the parmesan cheese and mix. Add 1/4 cup of the saved pasta water and bring to boil. Cut the heat down to low and simmer. Add the pasta and mix until the butter sauce coats the spaghetti. Add a bit more of the saved pasta water if the sauce seems dry.
- Add the capers last 1 Tbsp at a time and mix well. Taste and adjust the salt.
- Transfer to a bowl and finish with more parmesan cheese.