Zucchini Noodle Bacon Cacio e Pepe

gluten free
Cacio e Pepe with Bacon (Zucchini Noodles)

Cacio e Pepe with Bacon (Zucchini Noodles)

I love cooking for my boyfriend. I love seeing Lu devour something I made for him. He loves all types of food and it’s cute to see him get excited for every new dish I make. It really makes me happy making him happy. That’s love, right?

If you’re cooking for your boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband for Valentine’s Day this year, I have the perfect fool-proof recipe that will impress your date. It’s simple, sexy and delicious.

It’s Cacio e Pepe!

Cacio e Pepe with Bacon (Zucchini Noodles)

Cacio e Pepe is an Italian vegetarian classic. In English, it means “cheese and pepper” pasta. That’s really all there is in it: cheese and pepper.

But, for this recipe, I wanted to add in a twist: bacon.

Cacio e Pepe with Bacon (Zucchini Noodles)

If you’re trying to introduce spiralized veggie pasta to your significant other, but he or she is resisting, this dish will have them begging for more. Cacio e Pepe is sort of like an elegant mac and cheese. The two types of cheeses melt into the pasta and create a luxurious sauce with tons of savory and salty flavor.

The bacon is for the meat-eater. Throw bacon in anything and it instantly becomes the world’s best meal.

Cacio e Pepe with Bacon (Zucchini Noodles)

This bowl of pasta is lighter on the hips, so you’ll still have the energy to go dancing later. Plus, you’ll have room for some chocolate covered strawberries afterwards and not feel bloated for the rest of the night.

When Lu and I first started dating, I would stress over what I was going to make him for dinner. I’d invite him over and spend so much time in the kitchen, whipping up something messy and complicated. Not so sexy. Or impressive.

Cacio e Pepe with Bacon (Zucchini Noodles)

This Inspiralized Cacio e Pepe takes 20 minutes to make and I guarantee, as you’re cooking the bacon, your date’s mouth will be watering.

You can enjoy more wine and hand-holding instead of cleaning bowls, plates, spatulas and baking trays. It’s a one skillet dish!

Are you cooking for your date this Valentine’s Day?

Cacio e Pepe with bacon (Zucchini Noodles)

Yields 2

10 minPrep Time

10 minCook Time

20 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • 3 strips of bacon
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 3 medium zucchinis, Blade C
  • freshly cracked black pepper, from a grinder
  • 1/4 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese + more to garnish


  1. Place a large skillet over medium heat and coat lightly with cooking spray. Add in the bacon and cook for 3-5 minutes and then flip over, cooking for another 2-3 minutes. Once done, remove and place on a paper-towel lined plate.
  2. Remove all of the oil from the bacon except for 2 tbsp. Add in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds. Then, add in the zucchini noodles and toss to cook, for about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Season the zucchini with about 5 cracks of the pepper and add in the cheeses. Toss to combine thoroughly and then plate into two bowls. Top each bowl with a few more cranks of black pepper and crumble over a piece and a half of bacon in each bowl. Garnish with additional parmigiano reggiano cheese.

Cacio e Pepe with Bacon (Zucchini Noodles)

Cacio e Pepe with Bacon (Zucchini Noodles)

Cacio e Pepe with Bacon (Zucchini Noodles)

Cacio e Pepe with Bacon (Zucchini Noodles)

Cacio e Pepe with Bacon (Zucchini Noodles)


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Kay says:
Hi Ali, this looks so delicious, I cannot wait to make it! One question - when you say red pepper flakes, do you mean dried chilli flakes? I mean, are they spicy? I often have to do the American-British translation before I start a recipe and realise that I have the wrong ingredients :-) Thanks for all your work in bringing lovely spiralizer recipes to the world!
Megan says:
Yes, it's the small dried chili flakes they have in the spice aisle. They add a nice little heat but they aren't too spicy. I would add maybe a half a teaspoon and then see if you want to add more. Good luck! : )
Heather says:
I would design some typography wall art.
Oh my gosh! I love this!
Katie says:
This looks so good! I just ordered my spiralizer and can't wait to try some of your recipes!
Cheese + bacon + pepper flakes, great combo.
aleesha says:
I will be making this for sure! One question I had for you.....I was wondering if you have ever tried to spiralize broccoli stalks?? That part always gets thrown away in my kitchen.
Yes, I have, but I find the flavor too bitter and the texture too harsh!
Juice them! They go great with other veggies in juice and are so full of nutrients, more so than the florets! :-)
Jenny says:
What do you use to create the zucchini noodles?
Victoria says:
I would design some personal stationery, I love Minted :)
alice says:
Hi Ali. I was wondering if you could maybe do this recipe with another spiralized vegetable? like a butternut squash or a sweet potato? my boyfriend prefers the noodles in either of these vege's :) Thank you!
Just swap in the sweet potato noodles for the zucchini noodles! Cook the sweet potato noodles in the skillet with olive oil and then at the end, at the cheeses and pepper!
Carolyn says:
This looks so great! I literally JUST got a spiral slicer and made my first zucchini noodles. We're having them tonight with blackened mahi mahi. Pinning this!
Anne says:
Got my spiralizer yesterday, and made this tonight. IT WAS AMAZING! I subbed 90 g of hot pancetta for the bacon, but kept everything else as-is. I will be making this for everyone I know. thanks for the recipe, Ali!!!
phoebe says:
ok- this may be really the silliest question EVER- but do you cook the zucchini after you put it through the spiralizer? or are the veggies in these recipes always raw?
Phoebe - in this recipe, it denotes whether or not to cook the noodles! You start off with them raw, but then you usually cook them in my recipes. Sometimes, I leave them raw!
Iva says:
I just Made this... A bit watery. Maybe my noodles were too small or I left them in too long.
This looks absolutely delicious. I love my spiraliser and pleased to have discovered your recipes. I lived in Italy for a few years and this is pretty far away from Roman cacio e pepe, but to be honest, sounds 100% more appealing to me than the real thing (which though delicious, usually leaves me comatose and with a stomach ache a few hours later!). I shall be giving this a go. And you're right, adding bacon to anything can only be an improvement! :-)
Ally says:
I just made this as for my boyfriend as my first spiralizer dish and it was sooooooooo good! Highly recommend! Not as healthy but I increased the bacon to 5 pieces ;)... He loved it!
Marta says:
I wanted to try this dish so much that I've just made it even without having a spiralizer (yet). I just used my vegetable peeler and even my boyfriend who is a complete carnivore, loved it! Success!
[…] Cacio e Pepe is a traditional “cheese and pepper” pasta in Italy. Top these zucchini noodles with bacon for a dish so good, you won’t even miss the pasta. Recipe here. […]
Jenny says:
Every time I have ever tried heating the zucchini noodles , they just leave a huge watery mess in the bottom of the bowl I am serving/eating them in. How do I avoid that? I usually end up not cooking them at all, and pouring a hot sauce on top, however, this makes the dish barely warm, because the cold noodles cool everything down...
Ali Maffucci says:
You'll find this video very helpful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mILFcumUbuk
Jenny says:
Thank you Ali!
Beth says:
I made this today for my daughter and I. I used mazithra and parmesan and garnished with a little basil and parsley. It was phenomenal! Thank you so much for the ideas!
Martinez says:
Hello! I was wondering if I could switch out the zucchini with spinach?
Kathryn says:
Well I broke down and bought the spiralizer and want to get the bigger one to do onions and other things lol. My kid said she wanted to eat low/no carbs and I think I got carried away but my taste buds say NOT
Lynne says:
When I make the zucchini noodles I allow them to sit on paper towels for about 20 minutes to get some of the water out of them, then I drop them into boiling water (or chicken broth) for about 2 minutes, or until slightly soft, then I put marinara sauce on them....if your eyes were closed you would think you are eating pasta. I am on a journey with Weight Watchers and counting points, and there are NO points in the zucchini, so its a "free ride" for me.....I love them cooked, can't eat them raw.
Caitlin C says:
I didn't think I would ever find a recipe of yours that I love more than the sweet potato carbonara.... but literally was the best recipe yet! DELISH!
Carly Glazer says:
Hi Caitlin! So glad you are enjoying this recipe...and others :)
Anonymous says:
Ummm...6512 calories ? Can not be even close.
Anonymous says:
Is this nutritional info correct? CALORIES: 6512 cal FAT: 384 g CARBS: 1 g PROTEIN: 647 g

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I'm a total emotional eater. 🤡🙋🏻when I'm feeling sad, mentally tired, or just 'off,' I eat. to me, food is therapeutic and cooking is cathartic. and while yes, I often reach for something chocolatey or a literal bag of bread 🍞, I usually want a long therapy session in the kitchen and since I don't bake, it usually ends up some sort of pasta, an epic sandwich, or like today, with this flavorful salad. 🥕⁣

I woke up in a little bit of a funk and I decided to make a fancy salad for lunch and this Roasted Carrot & Beet Farro Salad with goat cheese, pecans, cranberries, and frisee lettuce was born. 30 minutes later, I feel much better, and now I'm waiting to digest so I can hop on the @onepeloton, squeeze in a quick workout and end my day early to spend it prepping for Luca's birthday festivities tomorrow. 🎉 🎈 ⁣

speaking of - anyone have any tips for building a balloon garland??? 😅