Tonnarelli cacio e pepe Recipe

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Cacio e pepe, literally 'cheese and pepper', is a very typical Roman dish, usually made with spaghetti, bucatini or—for the ne plus ultra version of this dish—tonnarelli, a kind of square spaghetti made with egg pasta popular in Lazio and Abruzzo, as well parts of Molise, Puglia and Le Marche.

Cook time:
Servings: 4-5


Cost per serving $0.50 view details
  • 400g (1 lb) Tonnarelli (see link) or spaghetti or bucatini
  • 200g (1/2 lb) Pecorino Romano Cheese
  • Freshly Grated Black Pepper


  1. At its simplest, literally all you do is boil the pasta in well salted water, drain it (but not very well) and pour it into a heated bowl. Then add a generous amount of pecorino cheese and lots of freshly ground pepper, and mix well. The hot water that clings to the pasta should meld with the cheese to make a kind of creamy sauce.
  2. If the dish is too dry, you can add a bit more of the pasta water. If, on the other hand, you can still see water at the bottom of the bowl, add more cheese.
  3. Then top with more pecorino and another healthy grinding of pepper. That's it!
  4. NOTE: Like many simple dishes, cacio e pepe is easy to make passably well, but hard to master. You need to mix the pasta quickly but thoroughly, making sure that the cheese melts properly into a cream rather than clumping up into bits. The key is to balance water and cheese—and that can only really be done by eye as you mix. What I like to do is to keep a generous amount of grated pecorino on hand, about half as much as there is pasta by weight, and use as much as I need. Any leftover cheese can be sprinkled on top or kept for another use. But as often is the case with this sort of thing, no amount of coaching will substitute for practice, practice, practice.
  5. For step-by-step photo instructions on making tonnarelli, click on the link below.


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Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving %DV
Serving Size 113g
Recipe makes 4 servings
Calories 99  
Calories from Fat 27 27%
Total Fat 3.05g 4%
Saturated Fat 0.79g 3%
Trans Fat 0.0g  
Cholesterol 2mg 1%
Sodium 465mg 19%
Potassium 358mg 10%
Total Carbs 15.6g 4%
Dietary Fiber 2.9g 10%
Sugars 10.02g 7%
Protein 2.02g 3%
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  • I Sicilian
    I often think, how many people know the secret to the most delicious dishes. The simplicity of this dish! Only two ingredients, one brings out the intensity of flavor of the other. If you added more to this dish, it would kill the perfect blend and loose intensity.
    Love it!
    I've cooked/tasted this recipe!
    1 person likes this review


    • Nanette
      August 3, 2010
      Frank: This immediately took me back to my childhood. The moment the kids stepped into Nonna's house a plate of this was pushed in front of us...if not this then it was pastina with Romano cheese, a bit of butter and sometimes broth! On occasion, she'd scrambled an egg into it....wonderful. Thanks for reminding me of how great the most simple food can be!

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