Bucatini Cacio e Pepe is a creamy combination of two kinds of cheeses, fresh black pepper, and crispy Prosciutto. It’s simple to make in less than 30 minutes.
This post was originally released in 2019 so it was time for an update. Detailed instructions, tips, and FAQs have been added to improve our readers’ experience. No changes were made to the recipe.
This Cacio e Pepe dish combines olive oil infused with garlic and black pepper, two kinds of cheese, and crispy Prosciutto over a bed of al dente Bucatini pasta. It’s a simple meal that tastes gourmet.
Table of contents
- What Does Cacio e Pepe Mean In Italian?
- What is the difference between Pecorino Romano, Parmesan Reggiano, and Parmesan cheese?
- Products we used with Cacao de Pepe
- What ingredients do I need to Make Casio e Pepe with Prosciutto?
- How to make Cacio e Pepe Bucatini
- Tips for making the perfect Bucatini Casio e Pepe recipe
- What goes with Cacio e Pepe?
John and I got together with some of our friends at one of our favorite restaurants. We know each other enough to share forks of our delicious entrees across the table.
There was one dish that we all wanted to try so we just ordered it for the table like an appetizer. That dish was Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe.
I was totally unprepared for how amazing it would taste. We all thought that and I couldn’t wait to try and make it at home.
What Does Cacio e Pepe Mean In Italian?
“Cacio e Pepe” means “cheese and pepper”. As the name suggests, the ingredients of the dish are very simple and include only black pepper, and Pecorino Romano cheese.
I decided to dress up the traditional Cacio e Pepe recipe by using bucatini pasta.
Bucatini pasta is like a spaghetti noodle with a hole running through it.
It’s thicker than spaghetti and has an al dente texture that guarantees you will not leave the table hungry or rush through this meal.
Also, we used a blend of tangy Pecorino Romano with milder Parmesan Reggiano that dressed this Cacio e Pepe Pasta recipe to a gourmet level.
What is the difference between Pecorino Romano, Parmesan Reggiano, and Parmesan cheese?
Both Pecorino and Parmesan Reggiano are hard Italian cheeses.
Pecorino is made from sheep’s milk and Parmesan Reggiano is made from cows milk. Just like Champagne has to come from Champagne France, Pecorino Romano and Parmesan Reggiano must come from Italy.
Pecorino Romano and Romano aren’t the same either. Pecorino Romano is made from sheep milk and comes from the Sardinia region in central Italy. Ramono is made from cows’ milk and made domestically.
Grated Parmesan that you find in U.S. grocery stores doesn’t even have to be 100% cheese! Shocked? I was too.
Parmesan Reggiano is more expensive and worth every dime. I found a great article describing the differences between these cheeses and how to make sure you’re buying the real deal in this Epicurious article.
I find Parmesan Reggiano has a milder flavor and it’s my go-to cheese 99% of the time when I need parmesan. There isn’t any substitution for the taste of fresh cheese and it really doesn’t add that much time to preparing your meals.
Products we used with Cacao de Pepe
- Spring Chef Stainless Steel Box Grater – I prefer to grate my own cheese. It tastes fresh and moist and I know that it’s not coated with anti-clumping ingredients!
- Spaghetti Server – This utensil is perfect for removing your spaghetti or bucatini from the pasta water. It’s good quality and nice enough to use to serve your guests.
- Tongs – We have several of these tongs. They are perfect for grilling, mixing and combining about anything.
What ingredients do I need to Make Casio e Pepe with Prosciutto?
- Bucatini pasta – You can substitute with spaghetti or linguini pasta
- Pecorino Romano cheese
- Parmesan Reggiano cheese
- Black pepper – fresh cracked ground pepper
- Parsley – fresh
- Extra-virgin olive oil – good quality
- Reserved Starchy Pasta Water
How to make Cacio e Pepe Bucatini
- Prep the recipe by grating cheeses, chopping parsley, and slicing prosciutto.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water once boiling. Add bucatini pasta and cook as recommended.
- Heat EVOO in a saucepan and when hot add strips of prosciutto. Watch carefully, the prosciutto cooks quickly! Once crisp place on a paper-lined plate.
- Add the garlic and black pepper to the hot saucepan and cook until the garlic is lightly toasted over medium heat. Remove from the heat.
- Add the cooked bucatini pasta to a large bowl. Pour hot EVOO, garlic, and black pepper over the pasta and combine.
- Add cheeses and parsley and combine. Add reserved pasta water to create a thick sauce.
- Garnish with additional cheese, black pepper, parsley, and prosciutto.
Tips for making the perfect Bucatini Casio e Pepe recipe
- Cook the pasta perfectly.
- Never add oil to the pasta water. Oil will coat the pasta and keep sauces and other ingredients from adhering to it.
- Use an oval dutch oven or a roasting pan to cook long pasta noodles.
- Never overcook pasta. If you’re adding it to other hot ingredients such as spaghetti sauce cook it one minute less than recommended.
- Remove it from the cooking water to discontinue cooking.
- Do not rinse your pasta. It helps cheeses and sauces stick to the noodles.
- Don’t forget to save a cup of pasta water for thinning pasta dishes.
- Cacio e Pepe Prosciutto all about the cheese!
- Try and buy all of your cheeses in a wedge or block. Pre-shredded and grated cheese often have anti-clumping ingredients included and they start to dry out as soon as they’re opened.
- Grate the cheeses finely. It will aid in the cheese sticking to the pasta and there will be less chance of the cheese clumping.
- Prep your ingredients before starting this recipe. It comes together very quickly.
- Grate the cheeses
- Mince the garlic
- Chop the parsley
- Heat your serving dishes prior to plating the food will keep your food hot longer. You can do this by wetting the dish and putting it in the microwave for 30 seconds or in a very low oven.
What goes with Cacio e Pepe?
- Italian Bread Recipe
- Apple Pear Salad
- Italiano Cocktail
- The perfect wine to pair with this Casio e Pepe pasta dinner:
- Cabernet Sauvignon – American red
- Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris – American whites
- Chianti Classico, Sangiovese, Brunello, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano – Italian reds
- Prosecco, Chardonnay, Rosé – Italian whites, Rosé
Yes, you can but Cacio e Pepe was literally named after Pecorino Romano so you can’t accurately call it Cacio e Pepe.
I recommend the Pecorino if you can get it because it adds a delicious punch to this recipe.
Cacio is pronounced like “cot-cho a pay pay”.
If your Cacio e Pepe is stringy it’s usually because the cheese was cooked too aggressively. The heat was too high causing the proteins to coagulate and become clumps or stingy, similar to a broken sauce.
If you enjoyed this Cacio e Pepe Bucatini recipe here are a few more you may like.
- Fettuccine with Sausage
- Italian Goulash
- Baked Spaghetti with Meatballs
- Creamy Lemon Pasta
- Spaghetti Pie Recipe
- Chicken Asparagus Pasta
- Crispy Parmesan Roasted Potatoes
- Ham, Melted Brie, Crispy Prosciutto Sandwich
Here you can find all of our Pasta Recipes!
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Bucatini Cacio e Pepe with Prosciutto
- 1 lb bucatini pasta
- 1 cup Parmesan Reggiano cheese grated
- 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese grated
- 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 slices prosciutto sliced along the short edge
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1-1/2 tsp black pepper coarsely ground
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
Garnish with additional cheese, parsley, and black pepper
- While pasta water is heating up grate cheeses, chop parsley, and mince garlic.
- In a small saucepan add olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot add sliced prosciutto. Cook until crisp (just a couple minutes). Watch it closely. When cooked remove from the pan using a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Add garlic and black pepper to the oil in the hot saucepan and cook an additional 2-3 minutes or until garlic is lightly browned. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
- When pasta is cooked, put it in a large bowl. Do not rinse the pasta. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
- Pour oil with the garlic and black pepper over the cooked pasta. Combine using tongs or a pasta spoon until covered. Add grated cheeses and fresh parsley. Pour pasta water a little at a time until the cheeses are smooth and create a thick sauce. (You may only need a small amount of water)
- Garnish with crispy prosciutto, additional grated cheese, parsley, and black pepper.
This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. My calculations are intended as a guide only.
Pasta de Pepe is a simple and delicious dish that’s easy enough to make on a work or school night. It’s a quick recipe that tastes gourmet.
What is your favorite pasta dish? Please share. I love getting inspiration from your comments.