Cacio e Pepe is a classic Italian dish originating in Rome, meaning cheese and pepper. The simplicity of this pasta makes it so flavorful without a lot of fuss. The cheese and pepper, along with a little pasta water, create the sauce which lightly coats the noodles – it’s amazing. The mixture of spice and cheese is a nice combination in your mouth and in my recipe I add another level of texture and taste.
Adding roasted cauliflower to this dish makes it even more interesting and flavorful, not to mention healthful. Also, I use brown rice pasta to make this meal gluten-free but, you can use any variety of pasta. I enjoy the texture of rice pastas – chewy with a bit of grainy goodness. Just make sure you under cook it slightly, so it doesn’t get gummy.
Cacio e Pepe with Roasted Cauliflower is great to make during the week because there are only a handful ingredients, which are mostly in your pantry. Don’t substitute parmesan for pecorino – this dish is definitely about the cheese.
1 lb. brown rice pasta
2 cups grated pecorino romano cheese
1 shallot, minced
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 tsp black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 425. Roast cauliflower on a sheet pan coated with olive oil for 20 minutes. Boil pasta and cook until al dente about 8 minutes. Save 1 cup of pasta water before draining pasta.
2. Add shallot with a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and saute for 2 minutes. Add pasta water and pecorino romano cheese to pan and stir. Continue cooking over medium heat for 2 minutes, until cheese has melted and a creamy sauce begins to form.
3. Add pepper and cooked pasta, toss to combine. Then, add roasted cauliflower and toss again. Spoon pasta into bowls, serve. Enjoy!