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Looking for a simple pasta dish with a lot of flavor? This cheesy and creamy Seafood Cacio e Pepe with scallops is the perfect weeknight dish that pleases everyone! For more seafood recipes see my Main Dish page.

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I know you are thinking just what is Cacio E Pepe and what does it mean? Cacio e Pepe is an Italian dish made from noodles, parmesan cheese, and pepper. You use the hot water that you cooked the noodles in to bind the cheese to the noodles to create a smooth and creamy sauce.

The one thing that can make or break this recipe is speed. You have to be quick when making the sauce and adding the cheese. Once the pasta hits the plates it is ready to eat immediately.

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Simple Cacio e Pepe

Seafood Cacio e Pepe with Scallops

My husband made this dish one night for my picky daughter and we fell in love with it. Since then we started adding ingredients for an extra flavor pop and take the dish up a notch. In this recipe, I added Trader Joes frozen “Saucy Scallops and Mushrooms”.

trader joes scallops and mushrooms

If you do not live near a Trader Joes or can’t find the seafood scallop mix. You can make fresh scallops seared in butter and saute some mushrooms, then add them in at the end.

Cacio e Pepe with Scallops

Cacio e Pepe with Scallops

Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Simple Italian cheesy pasta dish that can be served as is or as a base for other ingredients.


  • 1 box (1 lb) pasta, spaghetti – Regular spaghetti. Don’t use thin or angel hair pasta
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided. (Use 2Tbsp per serving. Each serving is finished individually)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper per serving – more or less to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese per serving, finely grated works best vs shaved. Do not use the finely powdered kind (Kraft, etc).
  • 2 lb bags Trader Joes frozen Saucy Scallops and Mushrooms (optional)


Simple Cacio e Pepe

Bring water to a boil in a large stockpot and season with a generous pinch of salt. boil pasta for Cacio e Pepe

Boil 1 pound of spaghetti in water until 2-3 minutes before the recommended time to ensure it is al dente (you will finish cooking the pasta in the pan when finishing each serving). 

pasta water for Cacio e pepe

Carefully pour about 2 cups of the pasta water into a measuring cup and set aside.

Finish the pasta in individual servings:

how to make Cacio e pepe

In a sauté pan, add freshly cracked pepper, 2 tablespoons of butter, and a half cup of pasta water to a boil over med-high heat and let the pepper bloom for a moment. Cacio e Pepe sauce 

Add one serving of pasta and stir with tongs until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Remove from heat and add Parmesan cheese and stir with tongs until melted smooth and creamy.

Add to pasta bowl and finish with a little cracked pepper and a sprinkle of parmesan.

Adding Scallops and Mushroom Medley:

Cook according to package in a covered saucepan. Spoon over pasta when plated.


Work fast when tossing the noodles with the parmesan cheese to blend and make it creamy. Serve each individual serving immediately.

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Seafood Cacio e Pepe with Scallops, scallop pasta dish,
Creamy Cacio e Pepe Pasta Recipe, spaghetti with Parmesan sauce, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti cheese noodles

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