Cacio e Pepe (Milk Street)

This is an untraditional way of preparing Cacio e Pepe that uses cornstarch as a cheat to ensure good results. The recipe I usually use, with consistently good results, is from Ina Garten.

Adapted from Milk Street

Cacio e Pepe (Milk Street)


  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 6 oz Pecorino Romano cheese block, finely grated (3 cups)
  • 12 oz linguine or spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper



Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot.


Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, whisk the water and cornstarch until smooth.


Add the pecorino and stir until evenly moistened.


Set the pan over medium-low and cook, whisking constantly, until the cheese melts and the mixture comes to a gentle simmer and thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Don't over heat! As soon as a simmer is reached remove from the heat; set aside. Note: while the pecorino mixture rests, it will thicken slightly.


Stir the pasta and salt into the boiling water and cook until al dente.


Reserve about one cup of the pasta water and then drain the pasta.


Return the pasta to the pot and let cool for about 1 minute.


Pour the pecorino mixture over the pasta and toss with tongs until combined; toss in the pepper.


Let stand, tossing two or three times, until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 3 minutes.


If needed, toss in reserved pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to adjust the consistency.


For Pasta Gricia: In a 10-inch skillet over medium, cook 3 ounces finely chopped pancetta until crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a paper towel–lined plate; reserve 2 tablespoons of the rendered fat. Follow the recipe for cacio e pepe, whisking the fat into the pecorino mixture before setting it aside. Stir the cooked pancetta into the pasta along with the pepper.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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  • Reply
    April 10, 2022 at 7:53 pm

    You don’t tell us when to add the cooking water.

    • Reply
      April 10, 2022 at 9:46 pm

      Please take a look at the last step in the instructions. It states to toss in reserved pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to adjust the consistency.

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