Big Weather’s Big Recipe: Cacio E Pepe by Elaina Athans

Our tour of the ABC11 kitchens continues. This week, we’re heading to Elaina Athan’s house to cook up an old Roman dish called Cacio E Pepe, or Butter and Pepper.

For as simple as this recipe is, it blew me away just how good it tasted. Elaina comes from a family of restaurateurs and talks about it in the video. Let’s go!


1 T of salt
1/2 can of spaghetti (use noodles with rough edges if you can)
3/4 stick of butter
1 T coarse cracked pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan and Romano cheese


1. Boil a pot of water and add salt

2. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the box, until 3 minutes before the end
3. Reserve 3/4 cup pasta water, then drain pasta and spray with cold water to stop cooking
4. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Do not let it brown or burn.
5. Add the pepper to the butter as it melts and heat until you hear the pepper begin to pop
6. Slowly add the reserved pasta water to the butter, being careful not to splash
7. Add the noodles to the butter mixture and mix well

8. Add the cheese over medium-low heat and continue to stir
9. The pasta is ready when the cheese starts to get “stringy”
10. Pro-tip – Watch how she twirls it around as she dishes. It’s not in the video, but she adds a little fresh pepper and a little more Parmesan cheese to make it eye candy.

It was amazing and you can change it SO easily. Want protein? Add grilled chicken or steamed shrimp with the parmesan. Need gluten free, they make this pasta so well. You can even sprinkle some parsley on it just before serving to “green” it up a bit. It was so simple, maybe that’s why it surprised me so much. Thank you Elaina for a great recipe!

Also, if you have a great recipe you want me to try, email me and maybe I’ll feature it in this Big Recipe segment. Email Don.

RELATED: Want more great recipes? Click here!

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