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Cacio e Pepe with Pancetta and Arugula
Cacio e Pepe with Pancetta and Arugula
Aubrie Pick / Giada's Italy: My Recipes for La Dolce Vita
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This is a family favorite in my house. It's easy, cheesy and decadent without being heavy.

Technique tip: Using the starchy pasta water and cheese creates a lightly creamy sauce ... without any cream!

Swap option: Try using bacon instead of pancetta for a smoky finish.


    • 1 pound creste del gallo pasta, or other curved pasta shape
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/3 pound pancetta, diced
    • 1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1 cup freshly grated pecorino cheese
    • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
    • 3 cups packed baby arugula, roughly chopped


1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the pasta for 8 minutes (or just 2 minutes under the suggested cooking time). Drain well, reserving 1½ cups of pasta water.

2. Meanwhile, heat a large straight sided skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and pancetta. Cook stirring often with a wooden spoon until the pancetta is crisp, about 10 minutes. Add the pepper and toast, stirring often, until fragrant. Add 1/2 cup of pasta water to the pan and scrape up all the bits that are sticking to the bottom.

3. Add the pasta and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Add another 1/2 cup pasta water and stir to coat all of the pasta in the cheese. Add the pecorino and the butter and stir to combine, creating a light creamy cheese sauce. Add the arugula and cook until wilted. Add additional pasta water as needed to maintain the light sauce consistency. Serve with more grated cheese if desired.

Reprinted from Giada's Italy: My Recipes for La Dolce Vita. Copyright © 2018 by GDL Foods Inc. Photographs by Aubrie Pick. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

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