This cacio e pepe style sauce comes together super quickly and with the addition of salty olives, fresh basil and lemon zest it is a flavour bomb! I use a butter base which is slightly controversial for cacio e pepe purists but it is what I prefer and it tastes so good.
Cacio e pepe with olives and basil
Hello! I posted a photo of this meal on my instagram and it got a lot of love. I briefly described how to make it in the caption but honestly, it is so delicious it deserves a full recipe! It really is the most delicious sauce, it has everything you need. The cacio e pepe base is obviously already a peppery treat but then adding olives takes it to another level. It is so so flavoursome and the fresh basil and lemon zest add some much needed freshness.
I think my favourite thing about cacio e pepe is it is such a great base to add any other flavours to. That is what I love about pasta! Have a look in the fridge and there will be something you can add in to make it special and delicious.
It really is the quickest sauce to make, you'll have dinner ready in about 15 minutes! If you want to start with the basic version, check out my cacio e pepe recipe. If you are new to pasta sauces you could try and easier butter based sauce by checking out my butter sauce guide.
What pasta is best with this sauce?
With this kind of sauce, it needs quite a bit of agitation in the pan at the end. This means you need to use a pasta that is quite robust and won't break apart easily. Cacio e pepe is traditionally made with a hand rolled pici pasta so check out my guide to make that as it is amazing! You could also try my hand rolled gnocchi sardi or orecchiette. A freshly made fettucine or spaghetti might break up but any dried shape will work.
Steps to making this cacio e pepe style sauce
- Get a pot of well salted water boiling. When you add your pasta to the water depends on if you are using fresh or dried pasta. You will get used to the timing! I always use fresh so that means it will only take a few minutes to cook so I add my pasta to the water when the butter is just melting.
- Melt the butter with the pepper in a frying pan that is big enough to hold all the pasta in.
- When the butter is sizzling, turn the heat down to low and then add in some pasta water. This is where you need to be whisking quite vigorously to emulsify the water into the butter and thicken it slightly.
- The pasta goes straight into the sauce and then it's all about the cheese! Sprinkle the cheese on then agitate and and toss the pan to get the cheese melting through.
- The olives and basil are added at the end then it's topped with the lemon zest.
My biggest tips!
- Grate your cheese by chopping it into cubes then putting in a food processor (I use a magic bullet smoothie maker) it creates tiny crumbs and I find they melt into the sauce much easier.
- Never drain your pasta! I transfer my pasta straight from the water into the sauce then the pot of pasta water it sitting right there if you need to add more.
- Loosen the sauce as needed with more pasta water, just add a little bit at a time, toss around and let it thicken. Pasta soaks up sauce really quickly so always make sure it is really saucy so by the time you serve there is still lots left!
- Heat your plates or bowls! Pasta cools down quick so having heated plates is really key. I pop them in a warm oven for 10 mins or so.
Made this recipe and loved it?
I would love it so much if you could leave a review down below! Also please tag me or send me a photo on instagram it seriously makes me day seeing your creations! Feel free to get in touch any time to ask me questions, I love chatting pasta with you!Print