Trader Joe’s Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe Review

Trader Joe's Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe

Trader Joe’s has some pretty darn good pasta in their frozen food lineup. Their Mushroom Ravioli with Mushroom Truffle Sauce is to die for, and their Fettuccine Alfredo with Grilled Chicken is a lovely take on a true classic.

When we spotted the Trader Joe’s Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe, we knew right away that we needed to try it. So we picked up a bag so we could taste it and write a review.

Cooking this is simple. While you can heat this in the microwave in a matter of minutes, it’s actually super easy to make in a saucepan. Just put a little bit of water into the saucepan, then dump in the contents of the bag. Cover it and stir occasionally, and you should have a meal ready within ten minutes or so. (If you want to read the cooking instructions straight off the bag, check out our package scans below.)

We should point out that this might seem vegetarian-friendly at a glance, but it’s actually not. This frozen pasta contains animal rennet, which comes from… well, we’re not going to talk about that right now. We’ll just say it comes from animals, so vegetarians and vegans will want to stay away from this meal.

Trader Joe's Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe

This is actually pretty simple, all things considered. It combines a batch of pretty chubby spaghetti noodles with a creamy sauce. Simple isn’t bad, though, especially when it comes to pasta.

Our noodles ended up al dente, but if you prefer a softer noodle, you could try cooking this for longer. If you choose to do so, we’d recommend adding a bit more water, because the sauce really thickens up as this cooks. That said, we actually like how the noodles feel a bit firm. Because they’re kind of thick, a big ol’ mess of firms noodles is really satisfying to bite into.

The sauce here is the real star of the show. This stuff is just straight-up fantastic. It’s super creamy and absolutely rich with flavor. There’s a little bit of spiciness to it as well, which likely comes from its liberal use of ground black pepper. It sort of hits the back of your throat with a spicy finish and leaves you feeling like your sinuses have cleared. It’s very lovely.

What’s less lovely is the calorie count. While the bag claims there are only 270 calories per serving, there are three servings in a bag. The image a few paragraphs above shows what the full bag looks like in a serving dish — it’s not an enormous amount. A hungry adult could polish off a full bag no problem. Our reviewer wasn’t super hungry when they ate this, and they still ended up eating about three quarters of it before packing the rest up for later.

The Trader Joe’s Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe is amazing and delicious, but also loaded with calories. It’s hard to put it down once you’ve started eating it, so trying to keep your serving size small might prove to be an exercise in futility. Thankfully, it will also be an exercise in deliciousness.

To learn more about the nutrition content, ingredients, or cooking instructions for this frozen pasta, check out our package scans below.

Trader Joe's Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe
Trader Joe's Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe
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1 year ago

Trader Joe’s Spaghetti Cacio de Pepe: The entire bag was full of the little squares of sauce&cheese. There were 2 little round nests of spaghetti,,,, would satisfy my 2 1/2 year old daughter if served with something else (chicken, etc). Maybe 1/2 a cup…. Not buying again…. disappointed… There is a picture above on this site… mine was maybe 1/4 of the amount on the plate in the picture….

11 months ago

I tried this last night. I sauteed some red Argentinean shrimp with fresh garlic and mushrooms. Removed them and set aside and cooked the spaghetti. When it was done I added the shrimp and mushroom mixture and served it over a bed of cooked spinach. It was a hit!!! I want to try it with grilled chicken and sun-dried tomatoes or artichoke hearts. Lots of possibilities. *****

Mary Lou
Mary Lou
3 months ago

I bought a bag as an experiment last week. The taste was good – very ‘peppery’ to the point my mouth really tingled after eating it. I do have a major quibble with the prep instructions. I chose the microwave option, which may have been my first mistake. Following the directions as written did not give it enough moisture as you’d expect in a frozen pasta & sauce product. The pasta nests were still very firm – not al dente but too hard to be appetizing – and would not unravel into long threads. They remained stuck in those bundles. I subsequently put everything into a sauce pan with a cover, added about 1/4 cup of water and set the pan on low to just barely simmer the product, hoping the pasta would absorb more liquid and become soft enough to eat. It was a very unconventional cooking technique – more of a desperation Hail Mary – but it seemed to work – the pasta unraveled and was soft and pleasant to eat. In hindsight, I think the 2 Tblsp of water to be added to the saucepan in the stovetop directions are likely not enough. So if you’re trying it, I’d suggest avoiding the microwave directions completely and watch the saucepan to add more water if necessary. You’ll surely need some extra.

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