Jeff Benda
No Meat Meals

Cacio e Pepe

Serves 4

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

I first started making this dish in my early 20’s. It would be late at night when I got home from working a 12-hour shift at the restaurant. I would be craving a big meal but had no energy for something complicated. Cacio e Pepe is one of the easiest pasta dishes ever created and is absolutely incredible when made right! This recipe makes enough to feed my family. But I often find myself eating it alone right out of the skillet.

“Pray, hope, and don’t worry.” – Saint Padre Pio


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces spaghetti
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese


  1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions, about 8 minutes. Reserve pasta water.
  2. Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper in a large skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes.
  3. Add 1/4 cup of pasta water and butter to the skillet and whisk together.
  4. Using tongs, lift spaghetti into the oil/butter mixture.
  5. Add cheese and another 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Stir until well combined and serve immediately.