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Bucatini cacio e pepe being scooped out of the pan
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5 from 2 votes

Bucatini Cacio e Pepe (Spaghetti, Cheese, and Pepper)

Creamy, cheesy, bucatini pasta with freshly cracked black pepper.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 398kcal
Author: Hilda Sterner


  • 5 ounce Pecorino Romano cheese (or two cups shredded)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 16 ounces bucatini or thick spaghetti (dry)
  • 2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (plus more for serving)
  • 1 tablespoon za'atar (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic (optional)


  • Grate Pecorino Romano cheese as finely as possible and set aside until needed.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add salt.
  • Cook pasta in the boiling water, stirring occasionally, for approximately 9 minutes.
  • While the pasta is cooking, add freshly ground black pepper to a deep pan and toast for a few minutes. Pour 1 cup of pasta water over the pepper and simmer for a few minutes. Add garlic and olive oil, if using...do it!
  • Transfer the pasta with a pasta fork or server from the pot to the pan. There's no need to strain it, since you'll need the pasta water to make the cheese sauce.
  • Stir pasta into the pan until coated with the liquid. Add the grated Romano cheese and more water, half a cup at a time, to make a creamy sauce.
  • Before serving, add additional freshly ground black pepper. Serve while hot and fresh.
  • Optional: Sprinkle with Zaatar and garnish with Italian parsley before serving.


  • If you can't find Bucatini pasta locally, you can purchase Bucatini on Amazon.
  • There is no specific amount of pasta water to add to this recipe, but you will need a minimum of 2 cups.
  • It's a good idea to save the pasta water until the dish is completely consumed. You will need to add more when reheating the Bucatini Cacio e Pepe. However, eating this dish fresh is the best option. The more times you reheat the pasta, the further it will break down.
  • I am not a huge black pepper fan, but it definitely works in this recipe. This is why I only use 2 teaspoons of pepper. If you love black pepper, you can up the black pepper from 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon or more.
  • Shred the cheese as finely as possible so that it will melt quickly into the sauce. If the cheese clumps together, continue to stir, while adding hot pasta water, until the cheese melts into the sauce.


Serving: 6servings | Calories: 398kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 1451mg | Potassium: 198mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 123IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 285mg | Iron: 2mg