Anyone can make Cacio e Pepe. All you need is pasta, butter, and black pepper. It is a totally satisfying and delicious week-night dish. You can dress it up a bit by topping it with crumbled sausage. I like Jimmy Dean for this, but any kind of Italian sausage would be just as delicious.

Cacio E Pepe with Crumbled Sausage Topping

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Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Degree of Difficulty : Easy
Servings: 2 people
Tip : If you can't find Jimmy Dean or bulk Italian sausage, you can buy Italian sausages and just remove the sausage meat from the casing. Also, you can substitute Parmesan for Pecorino cheese.


  • 1/2 lb Jimmy Dean regular sausage or bulk Italian sausage
  • 3-4 oz dry bucatini pasta (approximately two handfuls)
  • kosher salt for the pasta water
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper or more to taste
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Grana Padano or Parmesan
  • 2 tbsp finely grated Pecorino
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh parsley sprigs chopped


Gather all ingredients before starting the recipe.

  • Add 1/2 lb Jimmy Dean regular sausage or bulk Italian sausage to a medium sized skillet over medium heat. Break up the sausage into crumbles and stir occasionally, or until the sausage resembles golden brown crumbles, about 10-15 minutes.
  • While the sausage is cooking, bring water to a boil in a large sauce pan. Season well with kosher salt.
  • Add 2 handfuls (or 3-4 ounces) of bucatini to boiling water, reduce heat and cook until al dente, about 5-6 minutes or according to package instructions.
  • Add 1 tbsp unsalted butter to a medium skillet and melt over medium heat. Add 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper or more to taste, sauté for 1-2 minutes and then add al dente bucatini to skillet. Toss to combine with melted butter and black pepper.
  • Sprinkle pasta with 1/4 cup finely grated Grana Padano or Parmesan, then add 1-2 tablespoons of pasta water and stir to make a sauce. If the pasta seems a little dry, add pasta water, one tablespoon at a time, until you have reached a creamy consistency.


  • Swirl a portion of pasta on to a serving plate. Top with crumbled sausage and chopped parsley.

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