Secret Sauce

Cacio e Pepe by Chef Ryan Hardy of Charlie Bird


From Charlie Bird chef Ryan Hardy:

Cacio e pepe is one of my favorite comfort foods and right now, we all need a little extra comfort. It’s easy to make with ingredients you might already have at home.


1 package (360 grams) dried spaghetti

4 tsp fresh ground black pepper  

½ cup butter

½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated

½ cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated



Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt. Add spaghetti and cook, stirring occasionally, for 9-10 minutes or just before al dente. Reserve 2 cups pasta water and drain the rest.

Meanwhile, heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add pepper and cook, swirling pan, for about 1 minute or until fragrant. Once toasted, add butter. Add ½ cup pasta water to the pan and bring to a simmer. Add drained pasta to pan, continuing to stir and toss in ½ cup pasta water. 

Remove pan from heat, and add pasta to the pan. Add cheese, stirring and tossing with tweezers or tongs until melted (pro tip: goal is to melt, not cook the cheese). Add a splash more pasta water if the pasta and sauce seem dry. 

Plate pasta into a warm bowl, grind fresh pepper, and sprinkle extra cheese on top. Serve and enjoy!