More than Just Pasta: 10 Cacio e Pepe Recipes

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Cacio e pepe — a simple Italian pasta dish made with butter, black pepper, and a salty, nutty cheese like Pecorino or Parmesan — is comfort food at its finest. As if by magic, the few humble ingredients transform into something truly spectacular.

From traditional cacio e pepe to more unique takes on the dish, here are 10 recipes that showcase this beloved Italian staple.

1. Savory Cacio e Pepe Cookies

We took the concept of cacio e pepe and turned it on its head with these savory cookies. Serve them at your next cocktail party and watch them fly off the platter.

2. Cacio e Pepe

This is our standard recipe for cacio e pepe, but don't let the simple ingredient list fool you — it's a show-stopping meal that'll impress friends and loved ones.

3. Cacio e Pepe Potatoes

If you're not into the whole pasta thing, these cacio e pepe potatoes are a worthy alternative. Be generous with the Pecorino on top before serving — you won't regret it.

4. Cacio e Pepe Broccolini with Lemon Pearl Barley

This Broccolini with lemony pearl barley is finished with plenty of Pecorino and black pepper. It's far from a traditional cacio e pepe, but it captures the essence of the dish.

5. Zoodles Cacio e Pepe

The zoodle craze is a tiny miracle for gluten-free folks. Now cacio e pepe is still possible, thanks to long strands of zucchini that stand in for regular spaghetti.

6. Vegan Cacio e Pepe

Even vegans can get in on the cacio e pepe trend! Olive oil takes the place of butter, while cashew cheese — a mixture of raw cashews, nutritional yeast, salt, and garlic powder — replaces the Pecorino.

7. Instant Ramen Cacio e Pepe

This clever take on cacio e pepe involves instant ramen noodles (yes, like the ones from college). Ditch the accompanying seasoning packet — we only need the noodles for this one-pot meal.

8. One-Pan Cacio e Pepe

No pasta dish is safe from the one-pan pasta phenomenon — not even cacio e pepe. With only five ingredients, one pan to clean, and less than 15 minutes, this is the easiest way to get cacio e pepe on the table for dinner tonight.

9. Spicy Numbing Cacio e Pepe

This spicy version of cacio e pepe has a numbing effect, thanks to the addition of Sichuan pepper. It's perfect for anyone looking to turn up the heat a little on an old Italian standby.

10. Spaghetti Pie

Perhaps the most ingenious take on cacio e pepe, this spaghetti pie would be perfect for brunch. Made with eggs, milk, and three types of cheese, it's just what you need after a night out on the town.

(Image credits: Kimberley Hasselbrink; Jenny Huang; Bon Appétit; Arthur Street Kitchen; The Iron You; Kitchen Treaty; Hapa Nom; Baker By Nature; The Woks of Life; David Lebovitz)