Tonight’s Dinner Is the Simplest, Cheesiest Pasta

In this series, our Head Chef Elana Karp shares the recipes for dishes she’s dreamed about.

Cacio e Pepe is one of my favorite pasta dishes. It’s somehow light and rich at the same time, with a delicious blend of creaminess from Parmesan and sharpness from lots of fresh black pepper. But, if you know anything about me, you know I love cheese. So, I started to think about how I could make Cacio e Pepe even cheesier. Enter shredded Fontina—the perfect, melty cheese with a mild flavor to add an amazing texture to my already perfect pasta. Buon apetito!

8 ounces spaghetti
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
½ cup shredded fontina cheese
1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Season boiling water generously with salt. Cook pasta according to package instructions. While pasta cooks, reserve 1 cup pasta water, then drain pasta and set aside.

Heat butter in a large pan over medium high heat. When butter is foamy, add pasta and stir to coat with butter. Add half of pasta water and allow to come to a boil. Add more pasta water as needed until butter sauce is coating and clinging to noodles.

Remove pan from heat and immediately add grated parmesan. Stir vigorously until sauce thickens and becomes silky smooth, about 1 minute. If your sauce is too thick, stir in 1–2 tablespoons of pasta water to loosen it. Fold in shredded fontina cheese and freshly ground black pepper. Taste and season with salt as needed.

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