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30-Minute Cacio e Pepe with Asparagus and Bacon

  • Author: Jen Elizabeth's Journals
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Cuisine: Italian Inspired


An easy, complete meal that’s ready in 30 minutes, this cacio e pepe pasta recipe is packed with rich flavor from asparagus, arugula, parmesan, and bacon.


  • 4 strips organic, humanely raised bacon
  • 8 ounces whole wheat linguine (or substitute spaghetti or fettucini)
  • 1/2 cup pasta water, reserved
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 shallot, diced
  • 1 cup asparagus, chopped into quarter-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 cup arugula, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Sea salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet and arrange bacon on wire rack so no two strips are overlapping. Cook the bacon about 8-10 minutes, or until small bubbles form and the bacon turns crisp and golden. Very carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven, taking care to not splatter bacon grease. The bacon will continue to crisp as it cools on the counter.
  3. Meanwhile, as bacon is cooking, bring a stock pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and add the pasta. Cook according to package instructions, until pasta is al dente.
  4. Use a ladle to scoop 1/2 cup of the pasta water from the pot. Set aside the pasta water to add to the dish later. Drain the pasta.
  5. Next, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the asparagus and shallot and cook until shallot is softened and asparagus is lightly tender, about 4 minutes. Add the peas and cook until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt.
  6. Turn off the heat and add the pasta to the sauté pan, along with the pasta water, arugula, and ground pepper. Season thoroughly with salt, and stir until everything is well combined.
  7. Transfer cacio e pepe to serving dishes. Crumble bacon over each serving, and top with grated parmesan. Serve.


1 teaspoon of ground black pepper will add a hint of spicy heat to the dish. It’s delicious! If you want less, start with 1/2 teaspoon and add more according to your tastes. Or, if you want a lot of heat, start with 1 teaspoon and add more according to taste.

Don’t forget to add the 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water to the dish! It’s the key to forming a nice sauce for the cacio e pepe!

For maximum parmesan flavor – and to keep the sauce from clumping or becoming lumpy – don’t stir the parmesan into the sauce. Just sprinkle the parmesan over the top of the pasta immediately before serving.

Keywords: cacio e pepe, healthy, easy, 30 minutes, asparagus, peas, arugula, parmesan, bacon, pasta, Italian