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Cacio e Pepe with Arugula

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Cacio e Pepe with Arugula

A couple months ago I was watching a show that quickly mentioned Cacio e Pepe – while making a pretty pasta dish. I quickly looked it up and not only felt like I needed to eat it as soon as possible, but wondered why I’d never had it before! Cacio e Pepe means cheese and pepper, making this creamy and peppery pasta dish a sophisticated, flavorful, adult take on mac and cheese. I quickly realized this was a sophisticated, socially acceptable way to eat pasta and cheese.

Another trick is to use bucatini instead of spaghetti – it is really thick and makes the cheese coat really nicely. Love a good, thick pasta.

The best part about this dish isn’t just how simple it is, but how much flavor the fresh grated Italian cheese gives it – you cook the pasta, then mix it with fresh grated Parmesan & Pecorino Romano cheese, mixed with butter, pepper, and a little reserved pasta water. It’s easy, it’s fragrant, the cheese coats every strand of pasta and the pepper gives it so much more flavor than basic cheese and pasta. Adding arugula gives me the ultimate reason to call this Cacio e Pepe with Arugula a full blown meal – pasta + veggies, right?

Cacio e Pepe with Arugula


  • 1 lb. bucatini pasta
  • 6 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 c. fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 c. fresh grated pecorino romano cheese
  • 3 c. arugula
  • more cheese for serving


  • Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a boil. Cook bucatini (or other long pasta) until just done. 
  • Drain pasta, reserving 1 c. of the pasta water.
  • In a large skillet or in the same large pot, melt butter. Once butter is melted, add in fresh cracked pepper.
  • Let the pepper cook for a minute, then add in the pasta water and salt. Whisk to combine.
  • Toss in pasta, and stir to coat pasta. Then add in cheeses and toss to coat pasta. 
  • Remove from heat and add in arugula. Toss gently and serve with more fresh grated cheese.

Next time you need a quick, simple, but more unique meal for dinner than spaghetti, give this Cacio e Pepe with Arugula a try. I think you’ll love it. To see my other main dish recipes click here. Tag your recipes at @plumstreetcollective on Instagram. Thanks for reading!



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