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Cacio e Pepe with Fried Shallots

Silky, rich Cacio e Pepe (literally "cheese and pepper") made with freshly ground black pepper, Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan), and topped with homemade crispy fried shallots!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 4


Fried Shallots

  • 2 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced (about as thick as a dime)
  • 1/3 cup Canola oil (grapeseed or vegetable work too)
  • Salt, to taste

Cacio e Pepe

  • 8 oz spaghetti (or other long pasta)
  • 3 tbsp reserved shallot oil or butter
  • 1 1/4 tsp freshly-ground black pepper (about 50 turns)
  • 2 1/2 oz grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan
  • Salt, to taste


Fried Shallots

  • Place the thinly sliced shallots in a pan, and fill the pan with just enough canola oil to cover the shallots (about 1/3 cup). Use a little more if you have to!
  • Set the heat to medium-low, and cook until the shallots are deep golden-brown about 20-25 minutes. Stir often with the tines of a fork to separate the shallot rings! (Pro tip: Keep an eye on these, especially towards the end! Once they start browning, they will brown quick).
  • Drain the shallots through a fine-mesh strainer, reserve the leftover oil, and place the fried shallots on a paper towel to mop up any extra grease. Season with salt and let cool. Store in an airtight container for up to three days.

Cacio e Pepe

  • While the shallots are frying, fill a large pot with water and add a few heavy pinches of salt. Add your pasta, and cook for one minute less than the package directions recommend. (We will continue cooking the pasta in the sauce later). Before you drain the spaghetti, save at least one and a half cups of the cooking liquid which will make up our sauce.
  • After draining your pasta, dry the pot, and return it to the stove. Heat three tablespoons of the leftover shallot frying oil (or butter) over medium heat. Add the freshly cracked pepper to the oil, and cook to bloom the flavor, about one minute.
  • Stir in half a cup of the leftover pasta water until everything is combined. Add the pasta, and coat well with the sauce, stirring until perfectly al dente. Add more pasta water as necessary until the cacio e pepe is perfectly saucy.
  • Remove the pasta from the heat, and quickly stir in the Pecorino Romano/Parmesan until you have a smooth, silky sauce. Taste, season with salt, and divide between four bowls. Top with fried shallots and enjoy!


Serving: 1plateCalories: 397kcalCarbohydrates: 35.5gProtein: 12.7gFat: 23.3gSaturated Fat: 4.1gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 182mgPotassium: 177mgFiber: 0.2g
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