Parm e Pepe Spaghetti


Parmesan and freshly ground black pepper team up to create a silky cheese sauce with a kick.

Parm e Pepe Spaghetti
Photo: Caitlin Bensel
Hands On Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
25 mins

This creamy pasta recipe takes its cues from cacio e pepe, a Roman pasta dish that simply translates to cheese and pepper. Traditionally, cacio e pepe is made with Pecorino Romano, but in this weeknight pasta recipe, cheese-drawer regular Parmesan stands in. Be sure to use freshly ground black pepper to maximize its punch, and don't skip cooking the spice in hot oil to allow for the pepper flavor to more evenly disperse throughout the dish. A final shower of walnut-parsley topping may stray from the traditional, but it bring an unexpected freshness to the deliciously rich dish.


  • 1 16-oz. pkg. spaghetti

  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • ¼ cup toasted walnuts, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 ½ teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 4 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated (about 1½ cups)

  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for water


  1. Bring 3 quarts generously salted water to a boil in a large saucepan. Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. Do not drain.

  2. Meanwhile, stir together parsley and walnuts in a small bowl. Heat oil in a large pot over medium. Add pepper; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and sizzling, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Turn off heat.

  3. Using tongs, transfer cooked pasta from saucepan to pot with pepper mixture. Ladle 1¼ cups cooking water into pot with pasta. Add butter and stir constantly for 1 minute. Gradually add cheese, stirring constantly and vigorously, until cheese is melted and a creamy sauce coats pasta, about 2 minutes (add more cooking water as needed). Stir in salt. Serve sprinkled with walnut mixture.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 700 calories; fat 27g; cholesterol 40mg; sodium 882mg; carbohydrates 91g; dietary fiber 5g; protein 24g; sugars 3g; saturated fat 10g.

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