On Quickest Cacio e Pepe

Ciao! Io sono Maggie. Io parlo Italiano un poco, e io sono cuoco. Io ho gli ingredienti ai cucino il pranzo. Ho aglio, olio, pepe, formaggio, e pasta. Io cucino pasta ai pranzo. (Translation: Hello! I am Maggie. I speak a little Italian, and I am a cook. I have ingredients to cook lunch. I have garlic, oil, pepper, cheese, and pasta. I am cooking pasta for lunch. This is a VERY harsh translation, but it’s something right?! I’m working on plurals, animals, and more things food related on Duo Lingo, but had promised to include a little in one of my future posts).

But back to the main event…here’s the problem with Instagram…as our “shelter-in-place” continues on, I’ve found myself spending some of my spare time perusing the infinite possibilities that Instagram has to offer, including what everyone else is making these days. A few times, I’ve scrolled over plates and bowls of cacio e pepe, which is just cheese and pepper pasta, and I got the craving…so, I looked in my fridge to see what I had, and wouldn’t you know it, I had everything I needed already! Butter, check. Pepper, check. Garlic (which isn’t typical in some recipes, but garlic is good for you so I’m never without it), check. Parmesean cheese….I mean, the container of Kraft Grated Parm Cheese is INDEED parm cheese, so CHECK! Pasta, obviously a check (we stocked up months ago). So, TA-DA, cacio e pepe on the fly. Now, here’s the other thing…the recipe below will serve one…maybe two if you only want an appetizer, sooooooo you may need to adjust accordingly! =) No one seemed intrigued by it as I was, so I made it with the intent of zero leftovers and minimal dishes.

Hoping all of you reading this are staying safe and well!

— Cooking Maggie

Cacio e Pepe for One

Ingredients – Serves 1

  • 6oz of spaghetti or fettuccine (if you have a pasta spoon, just put enough pasta to fill the middle hole of the spoon, which is a single service of pasta)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt for pasta water


  1. In a pot, bring water to boil. Season the water once it’s started to boil, then add your pasta and cook accordingly, stirring occasionally. Once al dente (just shy of being fully tender/cooked), reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water, and drain the pot.
  2. In a saute pan, melt 2 tablespoons of your butter (reserving the extra for later) over medium-low heat. Add in the garlic and black pepper and let simmer for about 1 minute.
  3. Add in 1/4 cup of the pasta water and the pasta. Stir it around, then add in your final tablespoon of butter. Stir again to fully coat, then add in your parm cheese. If you need to add in another 1/4 of pasta water to help coat your pasta more thoroughly, then do so. Once pasta is coated to your preference, SERVE AND EAT IT ALL!

One Comment Add yours

  1. Anne Smith says:

    I always order this in a restaurant. Most comforting dish ever. But cookbooks make the (simple?)recipe seem fraught with peril. I will try your versIon!


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