Give Biscuits the Cacio e Pepe Treatment

March  6, 2016

Lately I've been noticing a curious new trend: cacio e pepe everything. Chefs are making cacio e pepe pizza and polenta and risotto. Now you might say, "Hang on, by that logic couldn't you call anything with freshly ground black pepper and hard sheep's milk cheese cacio e pepe-flavored?"

And no, you can't. Because the beauty of the classic Italian pasta lies in its simplicity. It's less about what delicious elements it contains (although you can't argue with pasta + black pepper + cheese), but rather about what it doesn't. The lack of additional ingredients or embellishments creates a perfect dish: The flavors balance each other just enough that the dish never becomes one-note or too rich.

Now that we're all on the same page about how brilliant cacio e pepe is, let's talk biscuits. As a very serious biscuit aficionado, I consider them the ideal-blank canvas baked good. They can turn sweet or savory. Think of your favorite food and I promise I can turn it into a biscuit: Falafel with tahini sauce? Sure. Lasagna? Yes. Buttered cinnamon toast? Absolutely biscuit-worthy.

Cacio e pepe seemed an excellent candidate for biscuit transformation. I started with my go-to biscuit recipe—simple and exceptionally flaky—and added a hefty handful of grated Pecorino Romano and a few pinches of freshly ground black pepper.

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Don't be worried about how much pepper and cheese you're adding: You need a healthy amount of both to let the flavor come through.

Photo by Posie Harwood

When they emerged from the oven—warm and golden, oozing with butter and crisp with cheese on the edges—I gave one to a friend who never has anything more than "Mmm, good" to say about food. Critical feedback is not his forte.

Photo by Posie Harwood

The verdict, mumbled through a mouthful of cheese and pepper? "These biscuits are a keeper. The best I've ever tasted."

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • lf
  • amandainmd
  • Suzan Cox
    Suzan Cox
  • LeBec Fin
    LeBec Fin
  • Posie (Harwood) Brien
    Posie (Harwood) Brien
I like warm homemade bread slathered with fresh raw milk butter, ice cream in all seasons, the smell of garlic in olive oil, and sugar snap peas fresh off the vine.


lf September 2, 2019
Looks amazing. Thank you!
amandainmd March 8, 2016
Cacio and pepe everything beats the hell out of the pumpkin spice everything we suffered through in the fall... These look awesome. Thanks
lf September 2, 2019
First world problems. And you know what? Just because we may not like pumpkin spice everything, why crap on others for it?
Suzan C. March 6, 2016
Would you serve these biscuits with lasagna?
Posie (. March 6, 2016
I would literally serve them with anything because I am in love with them haha (and I also just eat them alone!). But yes, they'd make an excellent side dish for pretty much any entree in my opinion.
702551 March 6, 2016
Personally, I wouldn't serve biscuits with lasagna. That's starch overload, but many American like gut-busting meals. It's really your call if you want massive amounts of complex carbs.

I find that to lack balance. But that's just me...
lf September 2, 2019
I think I'd serve these as part of a meal of delicate lamb pops and either roasted asparagus or fresh French string beans. Allows one to really focus on this beautiful biscuit and not overwhelm it. But, hey, I'd eat it with gratitude if you served it for me with lasagna ;-)
LeBec F. March 6, 2016
if that isn't the most enticing food photo I ever saw, i don't know what is!OMG!