Quick and Easy

Tony Kim's “Cacio” e Pepe

October 31, 2018
Photo by Julia Gartland
Author Notes

Traditional cacio e pepe relies on practice and patience, and vigorous tossing—a technique well worth mastering, but maybe not tonight—to make a smooth sauce. Dry, grated cheese and starchy pasta water don’t inherently gravitate toward one another—the wrong heat, timing, moisture, or position of Mercury can send the sauce into dry and clumpy misalignment. But, as chef Tony Kim has discovered, a swirl of miso, butter, and chicken stock do no such thing—they love melding together. “The emulsification process pretty much happens on its own,” Kim wrote when he published this recipe in Lucky Peach in 2016. They also happen to make an incredibly delicious, noodle-coating sauce that does a very fine impression of a creamy, cheese-based one. And there’s a good chance they’re all waiting for you in your kitchen now. Adapted from Momofuku Noodle Bar Executive Chef Tony Kim, via Lucky Peach magazine (February, 2016). —Genius Recipes

Watch This Recipe
Tony Kim's “Cacio” e Pepe
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 5 minutes
  • Serves 1, but scales up well
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons white miso
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground Sichuan pepper (or to taste), plus more for garnish**
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper (or to taste), plus more for garnish**
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or to taste), plus more for garnish**
  • 1 portion fresh ramen noodles (or dry ramen noodles in a pinch)
In This Recipe
  1. Bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mash together the butter and miso with a fork until smooth.
  2. Melt the miso butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the chicken stock, Sichuan pepper, white pepper, and black pepper, and bring to a boil.
  3. Add the noodles into the boiling pot of water and cook until they are relaxed but still firmer than al dente, since they’ll continue cooking in the sauce, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Using chopsticks or tongs, lift the noodles out of the water and into the miso butter sauce. Stir and toss the noodles in the sauce until the noodles are cooked through and the sauce is thickened, about 1–2 more minutes, adding a little bit more chicken stock if the sauce gets too thick. The noodles should be lightly coated in a buttery, peppery sheen. Taste, add a pinch of salt if needed, toss one more time, and heap onto a plate. Sprinkle lightly with each of the peppers, and serve immediately.
  5. **Tony Kim's original recipe called for a teaspoon of each type of pepper, which I wimpily scaled back—because I know some of you will be as wimpy as me (though the Roman chef Marco Baccanelli does describe traditional cacio e pepe as "violent," so a tablespoon of pepper isn't out of place). Adjust the pepper amounts to your taste.

See Reviews

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Gabriel Jandali Appel
    Gabriel Jandali Appel
  • Petite fee
    Petite fee
  • Kaitlin Pet
    Kaitlin Pet
  • Kristen Miglore
    Kristen Miglore
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

Genius recipes surprise us and make us rethink cooking tropes. They're handed down by luminaries of the food world and become their legacy. They get us talking and change the way we cook. And, once we've folded them into our repertoires, they make us feel pretty genius too. Watch for new Genius Recipes every Wednesday morning on our blog, dug up by Food52's Creative Director Kristen Miglore.