Pici Cacio e Pepe
popular italian foods

Today you will learn more about this typical Tuscan dish! We will then make together the authentic pici cacio e pepe recipe and the summer version!


Pici cacio e pepe, a mix of Roman and Tuscan cuisine.

It is a dish that I really like and I am happy to tell you about today, since it combines my Roman origins with one of the most beautiful places in Italy, in my opinion, the wonderful Tuscany.

In Rome, cacio e pepe is usually served with tonnarelli pasta. In this version, however, we find pici, a type of fresh pasta made with water and flour, which in Tuscany they prepare with meat sauce or with the classic Aglione sauce, typical of the Val di Chiana.

In this article, I will explain how to make chef-proof pici cacio e pepe and reveal my secrets, because even though this may seem like a very simple dish to make, it actually needs a few tricks to make it creamy and tasty.


Pici cacio e pepe, let’s start with the ingredients!

But what is cacio e pepe, really? Before I give you the doses to make pici cacio e pepe, I would like to tell you and explain more about the ingredients we will use.


1. Types of pasta:

Pici, very similar to tonnarelli, are a type of fresh, long pasta, usually made with durum wheat flour, water and salt. Similar to spaghetti but thicker and irregularly shaped, they are perfect for this recipe as the cacio e pepe cream sticks very well to this type of pasta.


2. The Cheese – the so-called “cacio”:

pecorino toscano
Flickr, Bites of Florence Food Tour – Pecorino Toscano


Pecorino is a mature cheese made from sheep’s milk. For the Roman version, Pecorino Romano is used, as it is characterised by a strong and decisive flavour. For the pici cacio e pepe recipe that I will leave you with today, I will instead use Pecorino Toscano, which has a sweeter and more delicate flavour.

I would like to point out that the recipe for pici cacio e pepe is thought to have ancient origins. It is associated with the traditions of shepherds who made this dish, characterised by a few ingredients, during their working days.


3. Pepper:

Pepper, the last but not least ingredient! The authentic cacio e pepe recipe calls for the use of black peppercorns, coarsely ground at the time of preparation. Its use will give a stronger flavour to your pasta.


The Original Recipe:

what is cacio e pepe


Ingredients: doses for 4 people

Difficulty: moderately difficult

Preparation time: 45 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

  • For the pici
  • 400 g durum wheat flour
  • 400 ml water (lukewarm)
  • 1 pinch of salt


  • For the cacio e pepe cream
  • 280 g Tuscan Pecorino cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of black peppercorns


How to make home-made pici pasta

To prepare the pici:

1. Pour the flour into a container, add the lukewarm water, salt and knead until the mixture is compact and uniform. Leave to rest 30 minutes wrapped in cling film.

2. After the resting time has passed, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1 cm, cut out strips of dough and knead them until they are long and thin (similar to spaghetti, slightly thicker).

3. Place on a baking tray, dust with semolina (to prevent them from sticking together) and set aside until ready to use.


cacio e pepe recipe
Flickr, Ozan İlhan


How to make the recipe

Let’s now prepare the complete recipe for pici cacio e pepe!

1. Start by grinding the pepper in a mortar. Now pour the water for the pasta into a pot and wait until it comes to the boil.

2. Meanwhile, in a frying pan, toast the pepper for a few minutes, add a tablespoon of cooking water and let it evaporate.

3. Then pour the Pecorino into a container, add two ladles of cooking water a little at a time and mix well with a spatula until the mixture is smooth and free of lumps.

4. Pour the pici into the water, cook and 2 minutes before the end of the cooking time, add them to the pan with the ground pepper to make them stir.

(N.B keep the cooking water from the pici aside)

When the pasta is cooked, remove the pan from the heat, add the previously prepared Pecorino cream and add two ladles of cooking water. Stir the pasta well with the help of kitchen tongs, until it reaches the desired creaminess.

Serve and finish by adding a sprinkling of pepper.

Here you go, your pici cacio e pepe are ready!


cacio e pepe
Flickr, Ristorante Conte Mascetti


Travel tips to enjoy the authentic recipe!

I recommend eating the pasta hot, as the cream tends to congeal easily and consequently lose its creaminess.

As I have said before, pici cacio e pepe is a dish I care a lot about. I love the matching with long pasta, but it can also be easily made with other types of pasta such as mezze maniche or rigatoni. And believe me, the result will be just as tasty.

One piece of advice I would give you is to try making this recipe by adding fresh prawns and a grating of lime. The preparation procedure is the same as for the classic version. All you need to do is add at the end, the raw prawns (red prawns, first quality) whole or reduced to tartare and a grating of lime zest.

This is a fresh and fragrant version, perfect if you want a “summer” version of cacio e pepe.

With the original pici cacio e pepe recipe, I recommend pairing it with a Montefalco or a Chianti, two types of full-bodied and structured wine that go perfectly with the strong and decisive flavour of pici cacio e pepe.

Well, I think I have said it all, a classic recipe with few ingredients but which I am sure you will like because let’s face it, simple things are always the best.

Now that you know how to make pici cacio e pepe, remember that Italia Delight allows you to book tailor-made food and wine experiences and trips, directly with Italy’s top Food Experts.

What are you waiting for to discover Tuscany with us?


About Author

Federica Dezi
Food blogger, pasticcera, con la passione per i viaggi e la buona cucina. Sono Federica, ho 24 anni e vivo a Roma. Quando non lavoro nel ristorante di famiglia mi trovate in giro per il mondo alla ricerca di nuovi sapori e ricette da sperimentare. Sulla mia pagina Instagram “Haveanicebreak_” racconto della mia passione per la cucina condividendo ricette ed esperienze enogastornomiche.


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