cacio e pepe

4.50 from 2 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 lb. dried spaghetti or bucatini
  • 1 (4 oz.) package diced pancetta
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups baby arugula


  • 1 lemon, zest and juice


  • Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add a big pinch of salt and 1 lb. pasta to boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Reserve ⅔ cup pasta water, then drain.
  • In the meantime, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 4 oz. diced pancetta to dry pan. Sauté until crisp and golden brown. Remove from the skillet and transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
  • To that same skillet, add 4 tablespoons unsalted butter and melt over medium-high heat. Add cooked pasta to the large skillet with the melted butter followed by ⅔ cup pasta water, 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano and 1 teaspoon pepper. Turn off the heat and continue to toss together until cheese melts and a creamy sauce forms.
  • Add 2 cups baby arugula to a big serving bowl or individual plates and top with more grated Pecorino, followed by the pasta.
  • Top pasta with the crisped pancetta and garnish with more grated Pecorino and serve.
  • If desired, finish by topping with lemon zest and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.


  • Serve with garlic bread and an oven roasted vegetable like broccoli to complete this meal.


  • Protein: Swap diced pancetta for bacon.
  • Vegetarian: Omit diced pancetta.
  • Gluten-Free: Swap the spaghetti or bucatini for the Trader Joe’s Tagliatelle.
  • Arugula: Swap arugula for baby spinach.


Calories: 748kcal | Carbohydrates: 89g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 75mg | Sodium: 499mg | Potassium: 415mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 710IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 320mg | Iron: 2mg