Cacio e Pepe
Have you ever wanted to whip something special up but only have a box of spaghetti, pepper, some grated cheese, butter, and broth on hand? Good news: All it takes are these very five ingredients to make my spin on one of the simplest, yet most comforting and beloved Roman dishes ever. Cacio e pepe translates as “cheese and pepper” which also translates as “comfort and joy.” My version adds additional flavor by using broth in place of water; the pasta absorbs the broth along with the butter while cooking to give it a slightly creamy edge.
Servings Prep Time
4-6servings 2minutes
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
4-6servings 2minutes
Cook Time
  • 4cups chicken broth, vegetable broth, or garlic broth(e.g., Garlic Better than Bouillon)
  • 1lb spaghetti
  • 8tbsp salted butter, divided into 1-tablespoon pats1 stick
  • 1cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan (or 1/2 cup of each)plus more for serving
  • 1tbsp cracked black pepper plus more to taste ( note: For best results freshly crack the pepper with a pepper mill
  1. Pour the broth into the Instant Pot, break the spaghetti over it and add to the broth, then follow with 4 tablespoons of the butter.
  2. Secure the lid and move the valve to the sealing position. Hit Manual or Pressure Cook on High Pressure for 8 minutes. Quick release when done. (NOTE: The pasta will appear soupy once the lid comes off. This is what we want because adding the dairy will thicken it up perfectly.)
  3. Stir in the remaining 4 tablespoons butter until melted, then add the cheese and stir until well combined. The sauce will thicken as soon as the cheese is absorbed, which is almost immediately.
  4. Add the cracked black pepper and give it a final stir. Add more pepper to taste.
  5. Transfer the pasta to bowls and top with more cheese and pepper, if desired.
Recipe Notes

Lighter comforts: Use ghee instead of butter.

JEFF’S TIP: If you want this to be a more traditional cacio e pepe, use water instead of broth and skip the butter. However, you will run the risk of the spaghetti clumping together when pressure cooked without the butter to keep it slick and independent.

If you want the sauce creamier (though less traditional in a cacio e pepe), add 1⁄2 cup heavy cream, half-and-half, or an unsweetened nondairy milk and an additional 1⁄4 cup cheese in Step 3.

Due to the heavy buttery/cheesy nature of this dish, it’s best eaten immediately and when freshly made.

Any leftovers stored in the fridge will dry out quickly due to the amount of butter and cheese absorbed by the pasta. So if reheating in the microwave or pot, add a little cream or any type of milk, then add a little more cheese after cooking and mix it up!