Elegantly Simple Cacio e Pepe Pasta

Put true love to the test with a simple, mouth-watering pasta dish. Judging from our taste test its sophisticated simplicity is almost too good to share.

Avoid the Valentine’s Day restaurant crowds and learn how to make this trendy pasta dish for two instead. We like to think of it as a grown-up mac and cheese in a minimalist dish that is quick and easy to make.

Grana Padano is a slow-ripened, semi-fat sweet cheese with a grainy texture that mixes well with hard, salty Italian Pecorino cheese made from ewe’s milk. Remarkable, low effort, with a little kick of spice—exactly what you want in a relationship found in the perfect pasta dish.



Cacio e Pepe Pasta



Kosher salt

6 oz. long pasta noodles (bucatini or spaghetti work great)

3 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

3/4 cup finely grated Grana Padano or Parmesan cheese

1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino


Boil three quarts of water in a five-quart pot. Add pasta and season with salt. Cook until about two minutes before tender. Drain, but reserve about 3/4 cup of the cooking water. Melt two tablespoons butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add pepper and cook, swirling pan, about one minute until toasted. Add just 1/2 cup pasta water to skillet and bring to a simmer. Add remaining tablespoon of butter and pasta. Reduce heat to low and add Grana Padano. Stir and toss with tongs until fully melted. Remove pan from heat and add Pecorino. Stir and toss until cheese melts and coats the al dente pasta. Add rest of reserved pasta water if sauce seems dry. Transfer pasta to warm bowls and serve.

Adapted from bon appétit.