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Cacio e Pepe
Cacio e Pepe PHOTO: LIZ ANDREW/STYLING: ERIN MCDOWELL

You can wow ’em with breakfast mac and cheese or carrot gnocchi. But sometimes simplicity wins out. That’s why everyone should know how to make cacio e pepe. The Italian classic requires just six ingredients and takes 20 minutes to make—including the time it takes to boil the water.

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Makes 4 servings

12 ounces spaghetti

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper (lots of it), to taste

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes.

2. While the pasta cooks, mash the soft butter with the olive oil and pecorino cheese in a large bowl to form a paste.

3. When the pasta is tender, drain it, reserving ½ cup of the pasta cooking water. Add the spaghetti directly to the bowl with the butter mixture. Toss well to coat, adding the pasta water as needed to make a thick, creamy sauce that coats the pasta strands. Season with salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper.

4. Divide the pasta among four plates; serve immediately.

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