Cacio e Pepe

A classic Italian pasta dish with simple ingredients that will always be a crowd-pleaser. Cacio e pepe is one of our favorite pasta dishes to make!

A classic Italian pasta dish with simple ingredients that will always be a crowd-pleaser. Cacio e pepe is one of our favorite pasta dishes to make!

Such an easy pasta dish to whip together! Cacio e Pepe recipe on

Such an easy pasta dish to whip together! Cacio e Pepe recipe on

I recently bought myself a sleep mask because my mom told me that on their last trip to Taiwan (19 hour flight), she used one and it really helped her sleep because you weren’t bothered by someone else’s reading light or someone’s laptop screen. Jason and I are headed back to Taiwan in April and I wanted to try out a sleeping mask before our flight. I heard that it could take a while to get used to or you wanna try using it before you actually need it in case it doesn’t work out or something. So, anyway, I bought this one. I didn’t know there was so many to choose from. I chose that one cause I liked how big it was (no light leakage) and I liked that there were beads in it, kinda like those therapeutic wraps you see at massage places. I felt that the beads would hold the mask down so the light leakage would be minimal and I also liked that it could be used hot or cold or room temperature. Anyway, so the first night I used it, oh my goodness. I don’t think I’ve ever fallen asleep so fast in my life. I mean, who knew that having COMPLETE darkness would cause me to fall asleep so quickly?! I’ve been using it for over a week now and I must say, I love sleep masks and I don’t know if I can sleep without one now! It does end up off my face, though, by morning, but that’s cause I think I unintentionally take it off myself in the middle of the night. I’m so weird. I don’t even realize I do this! Ok, so now after testing this out, I’m super happy/excited to see how well this sleep mask will do on my 19-hour flight to Taiwan. Hopefully, fingers crossed, I’ll sleep through most of it; with some help from alcohol and xanax, of course.

Annnnnd so far, this entire post has been about how much I love my sleep mask. Do any of you sleep with a sleep mask or wear it during long flights?

Such an easy pasta dish to whip together! Cacio e Pepe recipe on

Such an easy pasta dish to whip together! Cacio e Pepe recipe on

Funny story about this pasta. Jason and I have long since ditched a lot of processed cheeses. Like, we get fresh blocks of cheese and grate them ourselves as opposed to getting it pre-shredded or in a bag only because they’re so gritty and gross and just doesn’t melt perfectly. I mean, yeah, it’s convenient, but the more often I’ve grated cheese, the more relaxing it is..until you grate your knuckles (haha, not that I’m speaking from experience or anything..).

Anyway. So, one day, we were sitting at home and I don’t know what got into me but I was like, ‘omg, I’m seriously craving the powdered parmesan cheese in that green jar. Like hardcore. I just want to taste it and have it bring me back to childhood.’ Surprisingly, Jason actually agreed he’s missed that taste, too, so we ran to the store and got this HUGE jar of it. We made this pasta that night and doused it in the powdered parmesan. It was so satisfying and so good. You just have to let go some days and indulge in the processed goods. You just have to. It’s childhood. It’s LIFE.

Would you believe me if I told you we made this pasta every day for three days? That powdered parm is like crack!

Cacio e Pepe
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
20 mins

Cacio e pepe is a quick and easy pasta dish with a small ingredient list that will be sure to please on any dinner night!

Course: Main Entree, Pasta
Servings: 4 -6
Calories: 531 kcal
  • 1 pound dried spaghetti pasta
  • 3 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese + more for topping (can either be freshly grated or the green jar kind)
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper + more for topping
  • Salt, to taste
  1. In a large stockpot, boil water and cook spaghetti according to directions on box.
  2. Remove and drain well. Put pasta in a large bowl and place pads of butter on top and toss to melt.
  3. Toss with Parmesan cheese, ground black pepper, and salt (to taste).
  4. Serve and enjoy!
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts
Cacio e Pepe
Amount Per Serving (0.25 of recipe)
Calories 531 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 23%
Total Carbohydrates 83g 28%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Sugars 4g
Protein 19g 38%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.



Posted on February 26, 2014

dinner for two by julie wampler



Perfect for: singles & couples, newlyweds, empty-nesters, college students, YOU!


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  1. 02/26/2014 at 7:09 am

    I LOVE cacio e pepe! So simple and comforting!

  2. 02/26/2014 at 7:43 am

    Gorgeous pictures as always! I love the simplicity of this dish and I can totally
    relate to the grating of the cheese and sometimes, a bit of knuckle as well ;) I might have to whip myself up some of this for lunch and hope that the unused can of green powdery parm is still in good shape :D Thanks for sharing!

    • 02/26/2014 at 7:59 am

      Enjoy! The green powdery parm is such a guilty pleasure ;)

    • 02/26/2014 at 8:15 am

      Hahah.. that is what happens when I am drooling over the pics versus watching what I type :) I meant the green can of powdery parm ;)

  3. 02/26/2014 at 8:28 am

    Great pasta dish!

  4. 02/26/2014 at 8:42 am

    Cacio e pepe is my favorite Italian pasta – especially with a little pancetta. Beautiful pictures!

  5. 02/26/2014 at 9:01 am

    why have I never heard or made this? So simple, which is so my families thing!

  6. 02/26/2014 at 9:26 am

    My kind of dinner!! Love everything about this!!

  7. 02/26/2014 at 9:59 am

    So, this is going to be dinner! And my hubs wears a mask when he travels. He says it helps to keep people from bothering you, especially flight attendants.

  8. 02/26/2014 at 10:01 am

    I love this simple beautiful pasta – we eat it weekly, but with a hard greek cheese that my husband loves. I always use a mask on long flights, and I know from experience that flight to Taiwan is a doozy! But maybe I should start using one at night. We live so close to downtown that the light spills through the drapes no matter what. Good idea!!

  9. 02/26/2014 at 11:33 am

    I love this kind of simple pasta, Julie! I’ve made various versions of this and it was a staple growing up since my parents didn’t know what red sauce was. They thought it was just ketchup, which my mom tried to pass off at one time or another. I’ve made it with quinoa pasta and just as yummy. Of course, my hubby always asks, where’s the meat? and he prefers red sauce, which he puts on the next day for leftovers. Ha!

  10. 02/26/2014 at 11:44 am

    This is basically how I ate pasta growing up when the rest of the family at pasta with sauce lol mmm now I want some! Oh and you already know I love sleep masks.

  11. 02/26/2014 at 11:57 am

    I love a sleep mask too! I use them on weekends when I want to sleep in, because any bit of sunlight wakes me up instantly. Can’t believe you’re going on a 19 hour flight. That’s nuts! This pasta dish looks amazing. I could easily eat this 3 days in a row too : )

  12. Pat
    02/26/2014 at 12:18 pm

    Love the pasta dish, it looks great. As for the sleep mask, yes I do use it as well as those little foam ear plugs when I fly. Just need someone to wake me when we get there!

  13. 02/26/2014 at 12:34 pm

    easy comfort food-I’m on it! as for the mask, laughing, because I just got matt a hoodie pillow case

    • 02/26/2014 at 12:48 pm

      Haha, that is awesome!!

      • Christe
        11/23/2015 at 8:11 pm

        I grew up on this. My grandma and mom made it for us all the time and it is still one of my favorite comfort foods. We just called it white spaghetti however we also add a little garlic salt. Good to know the actual name of this dish

  14. 02/26/2014 at 12:53 pm

    This is my kind of pasta! I agree on how wonderful freshly grated cheese is…and I’m also with you on the powdered parm. You can’t beat that stuff sometimes! It’s my childhood for sure. Love that memories flood back when I eat it. :)

  15. Holly Davis
    02/26/2014 at 1:16 pm

    You asked about using a mask to sleep, Absolutely. Also get some soft foam ear plugs and noise canceling headphones and you will be able to sleep peacefully on your flight. You won’t hear people talk or see lights. I travel a lot and this has saved me many times. I arrive rested and relaxed. Enjoy Taiwan, I always wanteed to travel there.

    • 02/26/2014 at 1:51 pm

      Thanks Holly!! My husband got me a pair of Bose noise canceling headphones for Christmas this past year and I cannot wait to use them for this flight!! I’m hoping the alcohol and xanax will also help put me to sleep ;) Thank you for your tips! I really appreciate the time you took to comment and to let me know some frequent traveler tips :)

  16. 02/26/2014 at 2:39 pm

    Cacio e Pepe is a prime example of why I love being Italian / eating Italian food – simplicity is perfection!!!! love love this

  17. 02/26/2014 at 3:10 pm

    We just had linguine pasta (gluten free) last night for dinner because we craved parmesan cheese, too. Seriously, that green jar…such fond childhood memories there! Beautiful photography, as always, Julie. :) Thanks for sharing. Pinning tonight!

  18. Ed M
    02/26/2014 at 3:16 pm

    Craving the green powered parm? I do most of the cooking at our house and usually use fresh ingredients. If my wife ever told me she was craving the green jar I would gladly run to the store to get it for her along with an EPT kit! (Sure you’re not PG?). Love making this dish!

  19. 02/26/2014 at 3:40 pm

    This has to be one of my favorite pasta dishes….simple and perfect!

  20. 02/26/2014 at 3:41 pm

    This pasta looks too good.

    I’ve never tried a sleep mask but you taking it off in the middle of the night made me laugh. I wear hand braces to bed, for my carpal tunnel, and I sometimes wake up having taken one or both of them off during the night. I never remember doing it.

    • 02/26/2014 at 4:17 pm

      Haha, I hear you with not remembering removing stuff when you’re sleeping. It’s so weird, isn’t it? When I first got my night guard (for my TMJ), the first night I ever slept with it, it somehow ended up UNDER my bed in the morning. Like seriously, how does that happen? It was in the MIDDLE UNDER my I would’ve had to taken it out of my mouth and thrown it under my bed for that to happen…maybe I did and just didn’t remember?? Haha!

  21. 02/26/2014 at 3:51 pm

    i agree that green stuff is gooood. I like to sprinkle it on my pasta as well.

    And about the long flight, I make sure to have a lot of snacks and keep ordering wine :) Sounds weird but Im kind of freaked out by those masks

  22. 02/26/2014 at 4:06 pm

    I absolutely love this dish! Had it last weekend at Eataly in NYC and have been dying to make it myself. I love how simple it is – thank you for sharing! Beautiful photos :)

    • 02/26/2014 at 4:17 pm

      Thanks so much, Kendra! I hope you make it and enjoy it :)

  23. 02/26/2014 at 4:33 pm

    Best comfort food, and I love how simple it is!

  24. Jessica Marcotte
    02/26/2014 at 4:42 pm

    yes i use an eye mask and there’s no way i could sleep with out one! if i forget it when i go overnight somewhere i panic and try to find something i can use as a substitute. I have even tied 2 socks together to use as one! lol My husband calls the one i use my fuzzy sunglasses cuz they are made of fleecy fuzzy material. sometimes they are too hot but usually they are so comfy! When i travel i bring a back mask just in case i loose mine!!

    • 02/26/2014 at 9:26 pm

      Haha, the tying to socks together made me laugh!! Thanks for sharing :)

  25. 02/26/2014 at 5:49 pm

    So perfectly simple!

  26. 02/26/2014 at 11:19 pm

    What a great recipe, it’s so simple but elegant. Thanks for sharing!

  27. 02/26/2014 at 11:22 pm

    I just got a sleep mask as a gift and it has lavender scent in it – I’m going to use it tonight for the first time. I hope I have as great experience as you do!! If not, I’ll stay up and make some pasta!!

  28. 02/26/2014 at 11:33 pm

    I love sleep masks! I wasn’t a lover until I took a long flight myself and then immediately realized how wonderful they are. I have a “cool feeling” one that I use on those hard to fall asleep nights or to block the sun on those mornings I just want to sleep in.

  29. 02/27/2014 at 9:29 am

    WOW it looks so delicious and yummy! Love your pictures!

  30. 02/27/2014 at 11:48 am

    One of my favorite easy dishes! But I never make it the same way twice. Definitely going to try it YOUR way :)
    PS – we gave sleep masks as part of our “hangover kit” wedding favors and I never used one before that. Now I use it all the time!!

    • 02/28/2014 at 8:20 am

      Haha hangover kit – that is awesome!!

  31. 02/27/2014 at 12:34 pm

    Butter and parmesan pasta was my favorite as a kid, but I haven’t had the simple combo in years. Now that I know it has a fancy name, the adult in me is gonna indulge – ha! Thanks for sharing this easy and delicious recipe, Julie! Hope you’re having a great day.

  32. Patti
    02/27/2014 at 9:06 pm

    my son gave me a eye mask for our trip to Thailand. It really helped a lot. We also had noise canceling headphones which are great. I would also suggest a blanket and heavy socks. The plane got quite cold and it’s more comfortable to take off your shoes.

  33. I am off to Australia in April and while its not 19 hours it is around 15, last time I slept the first 8 hours cuz I didn’t really sleep the two nights before. But the remaining 7 hours I could not get back to sleep so I just might order this mask as well!! Glad to hear its working for you at home! And this pasta, so simple but so right! I can see why you made it three times ;)

  34. 02/28/2014 at 12:35 am

    Ahhh.. the simple things in life :) This is basically where the idea of ‘Alfredo’ sauce came from.. buttery cheesey pasta for epic mealtimes :)

  35. 02/28/2014 at 4:07 pm

    Pasta comfort is the best!

  36. 03/01/2014 at 9:24 am

    How am I just finding out about this?!!? Ummm, dinner tonight. We’re the same with the processed cheese- as inconvenient as it is to spread, it just tastes so much better. Oh, and I totally grated my finger and thumb nail just this week. No blood, but a broken nail is upsetting!

  37. 03/02/2014 at 7:38 pm

    I’ve never tried a sleep mask but if I know I would def take mine off in the middle of the night.

    This looks amazing, sometimes you just need some old school comforts of the powdery green shaker of parm. I like to pick up some ragu too when I am feeling nostalgic :)

  38. 03/07/2014 at 7:30 am

    The recipe is great, I have to add the shredded though. I cannot do the green shaker can, oh no it is beyond nasty to my taste buds that is only one of the three ingredients that I won’t eat. About the sleep mask! Home run I have worn one for so many years traveling especially staying at friends and family who have an outside light in the yard that always seems to find it’s way into my room. I live where there is NO street light for almost five miles. I don’t like them and when I built my house the power company wanted to know if I wanted or where actually I wanted my outdoor light and I said absolutely not. When I go to bed I want it dark. I think that is how I got to wearing the sleep mask but it never bothered me at all. I would wake up and it was right there. I love them. I worked night shift for a long time and so I always wore one during the day so I could sleep. If not I could not shut my eyes. Anyone who hasn’t tried one should I don’t know of anyone around me that had any problems adjusting to them. For some reason they don’t seem to bother you or it is because you have a deeper REM sleep. Love your blog!!!

  39. 03/13/2014 at 1:23 pm

    New follower here, LOVE your recipes, and this pasta is no exception.
    I started sleeping with a sleep mask about a year ago when insomnia was at its worst during my pregnancy. The one I bought is and in my opinion, the absolute best there is, it never slides off my face! But it definitely took a few days to get used to it. I love it so much that I’ve gifted it to both my parents and in-laws. The only downside is that I freak out if I can’t find it when I’m getting ready to go to sleep. Haha. I’m way too dependent on it now.
    Anyway, looking forward to trying more of your recipes!

    • Julie
      03/14/2014 at 7:51 am

      I love that the sleep mask you showed me has an adjustable strap! Sleep masks are the best and I’m glad you found my blog!

  40. Linda
    03/23/2014 at 10:18 am

    When we were kids many yrs ago, our Yiayia (greek grandma) would make this for us often. She would slightly burn the butter and then toss the pasta in the pan. Often she would grate fresh mitztra (a hard greek cheese. Sooo delish. We called it peasant food back then bc it was so inexpensive to make. You conjured up old memories. I can still smell the nutty scent of burnt butter.

    • Julie
      03/23/2014 at 5:49 pm

      Aww that’s such a sweet memory, Linda. I’m so glad I could help bring back some of those memories. xoxo

  41. 04/22/2014 at 2:25 pm

    I love this recipe! Thanks for sharing… Greetings from Mexico!

    • Julie
      04/26/2014 at 10:56 am

      Thanks, Chery! Welcome :)

  42. Sara
    04/24/2014 at 11:27 am

    Hi! I just discovered your blog and I have to say that’s amazing! It’s really expressing the same idea I have about food, eating together, cooking for the others :).
    If I can, I would like to give you some tips about this dish. Firstly cacio e pepe is a traditional meal from Rome and it is mandatory to use the “cacio” i.e, “Pecorino Romano”. So no Parmesan or butter if you want to cook the original one ;).
    After spaghetti are well drained, just mix them in a bowl with grated pecorino, black pepper and a spoonful of hot cooking water (this makes the sauce creamy instead of the butter).
    Hope it helps! ;)


  43. Morgan
    06/23/2014 at 5:51 pm

    Just made this for dinner and it was DELISH! Thanks!

  44. Katherine
    12/03/2014 at 7:37 am

    How can something so simple taste so delicious? I made this last night for me and my two year old son. I added a small handful of season breadcrumbs to the dish when I added the cheese (I do that a lot with weeknight pasta dishes, just to give it a little something extra). We both cleaned our plates. I used less pepper since I was sharing with a little one, but this is comfort food at its finest. Glad I found your blog!

    • Julie
      12/04/2014 at 12:08 pm

      I know! Sometimes the easiest dishes are the best :) so glad you found my blog!

  45. alisha
    11/14/2015 at 3:00 pm

    I did take the liberty of adding a little lemon rind and it brought it out nicely-my kids love this recipe

  46. Maggie
    04/28/2016 at 12:31 am

    This looks delicious! Sounds like a perfect and simple dish to make after a grueling day of grad school! I love wearing a sleep mask since my husband and I have different schedules. Those things are lifesavers. And I often wake up with my retainer on the pillow beside my head! Haha.

  47. Ronnie
    10/11/2016 at 7:51 pm

    Would like the recipe to try. Thank you

    • Julie
      10/11/2016 at 9:34 pm

      If you are on a mobile device, scroll back up and click on the big purple button that says “CLICK HERE FOR THE RECIPE”

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