I loved mac ‘n cheese as a kid and I still do, but my pasta cravings have become more health-conscious and my palate has elevated since childhood. Since learning how to make homemade pasta from scratch there’s a certain satisfaction that comes with cooking good food for your kids and knowing you put your heart and soul into each meal. But let’s be real who has time for all that? I sure don’t. Half the time my kids end up eating raw fruits and veggies with a sandwich for meals.. at least when I’m “cooking”. There’s of course nothing wrong with that, but sometimes I want to give them a warm home-cooked meal that daddy didn’t have to make. That’s where this lovely Cacio e Pepe comes in. It took me 2-3 times of prepping this dish to get it nailed down, but it was delicious every time I made it. The best part is that it cooks up in the time it takes you to boil noodles and you’re done. Yep, that’s it! About 10-15 minutes depending on which noodle you use. Typically it’s made with Parmesan and Pecorino Romano but you can use other cheeses as well! Toss a few veggies in a saucepan with some oil and Italian seasoning while the pasta is cooking and you’ve got yourself a great homemade meal that everyone is sure to love!

Cacio e Pepe

This is a quick easy dish that stars cheese, pepper, and spaghetti noodles. The beauty of this recipe is that it is so easy to customize and makes a great base for a meal.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: cheese, dinner, easy, fast, lunch, noodles, parmesan, pasta, pecorino romano, pepper, spaghetti


  • Large Pot
  • Tongs or Large Spoon


  • Spaghetti Noodles
  • Pecorino Romano I often use parmesan
  • Salt
  • Pepper Preferably freshly ground
  • Salt Water Reserved from spaghetti noodles


  • Fill the pot with enough water to submerge your pasta noodles.
  • Add salt to the water until it tastes like ocean water.
  • Bring saltwater to a boil.
  • Cook spaghetti until an al dente texture is achieved. (If al dente is a new term for you this means that the center of an individual spaghetti noodle is firm but no longer crunchy.)
  • Grate cheese while pasta cooks.
  • Strain the pasta reserving a cup of the saltwater for use during the sauce-making process.
  • Place the pasta back in the pot.
  • Add some of the reserved water as well as some of the cheese.
  • Using tongs or a wooden spoon mix the noodles quickly and try to ensure that fresh unmelted cheese gets folded into the center. As your technique improves you'll get less of the cheese stuck to the bottom of the pan and the tongs/spatula and more will stick to the noodles.
  • Add more saltwater if needed. Don't overdo it though.
  • Prior to serving sprinkle with a generous helping of pepper and a bit more cheese if you'd like.


This recipe is very versatile so don't be afraid to add different spices to alter the flavour profile. The sauce also takes a time or two to get right. Basically what you're looking for is a nice glossy look to your noodles without losing any of your cheese to the utensils or pan itself. 

If you try this sweet little recipe tag it with #northerndoe, comment below, or email me! I love seeing how your dishes turn out!