Cacio e Pepe (The Foolproof Way)

This method makes achieving a perfectly creamy sauce foolproof.

4-6 servings

Time: 45 mins

By Ethan Chlebowski

When it comes to making cacio e pepe at home, the traditional 3 ingredient version is not the way to go, unless you want to risk a broken and stringy cheese sauce. Instead, this version uses a cornstarch gel to stabilize the sauce and achieve a perfectly creamy sauce every time. If you want more context on the food science, check out my full video guide.

Ethan Chlebowski

Ethan Chlebowski



  • Stabilizing cornstarch gel

    • water
      150 g
    • cornstarch
      10 g2 spoonfuls
  • Cheese & black pepper sauce

    • parmigiano reggiano
      , finely grated
      100 g1 part
    • pecorino romano
      , finely grated
      150 g1.5 part
    • olive oil
      15 ga spoonful
    • black pepper
      , freshly cracked
      to taste
  • Pasta

    • spaghetti
      , bronze cut
      a serving
    • salt
      a sprinkle
    • pecorino romano
      , finely grated
      for garnish
    • black pepper
      , freshly cracked
      for garnish


Step 1: Make the cornstarch gel

Add the cornstarch and water to a small saucepan. Mix the two together until the cornstarch is dissolved and no clumps remain.

Add the saucepan to the stove. Turn the heat to low and whisk until it is brought to just below a (180°F/ 82°C).

The starch mixture should begin to . Stir to ensure there are no clumps and then turn off the heat. Set aside.

Step 2: Blend the sauce

Add the cheeses, olive oil, and as much fresh cracked black pepper as desired to a blender or food processor (alternatively, use a tall container and a hand blender).

Pulse once or twice. Then, pour in all of the reserved cornstarch .

Blend everything to create a thick, stable of the cheese, pepper, and gel.

Proceed with the recipe right away, or store in the fridge for 3 to 5 days whenever you are ready to make a serving of pasta.

  • Note: the reserved sauce will make extra, enough to dress a few servings of dried spaghetti.

Step 3: Boil the pasta

Set a pot of water to along with a big sprinkle of salt. Add the pasta and cook until just al dente or slightly underdone.

Before draining, reserve a cupful of the pasta water to use for adjusting the sauce consistency.

Step 4: Combine the sauce

Set a second pan on the stove, but keep the heat off. Per serving of pasta, add 2 heaping spoonfuls of the sauce along with a splash of the reserved pasta water. Mix together.

  • Note: there should be enough sauce to coat 4-6 servings of pasta, or an entire 450 g package. Making smaller servings at a time is better since you can control the texture of the sauce and eat it warm.

With the heat still off, add the still-hot pasta and begin folding everything together.

Turn the heat to medium-low and slowly bring up the temperature of the sauce while mixing/tossing the pasta.

  • Be careful not to get the pan too hot, but it can come to a light without breaking because of the stabilized sauce mixture.

Adjust as needed: the pasta sauce should be creamy and coating every noodle. Add another spoonful of the sauce mixture if more sauce volume is needed. If the mixture is too tight, mix in a splash of pasta water.

Step 5: Garnish & serve

Serve immediately on a warmed plate with grated pecorino and more black pepper over the top.




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