5 Ingredients or Fewer

Cacio e Pepe ConĀ Ricotta

June  4, 2017
4 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

The idea of adding a puddle of ricotta on your cacio e pepe comes from Sora Margherita, a Roman-Jewish restaurant in Rome that's been around in the 1920s, and likely hasn't changed much since then. The cacio e pepe base recipe is inspired by one in Katie Parla and Kristina Gill's Tasting Rome, which comes from Leonardo Vignoli. —Ali Slagle

What You'll Need
  • Salt
  • 1 pound pasta of choice
  • 2 cups finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan or a combination
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • Whole-milk ricotta, for serving
  1. Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of the Pecorino Romano, the pepper, and a small ladle of pasta cooking water. Using the back of a large wooden spoon, mix vigorously and quickly to form a paste.
  3. When the pasta is cooked, quickly add it to the cheese sauce, keeping the cooking water boiling on the stove. Toss vigorously, adjusting with a tablespoon or two of hot water as necessary to melt the cheese and create a sauce that coats the pasta.
  4. Divide among 4 plates and sprinkle each portion with some of the remaining Pecorino Romano. Dollop a heaping spoonful (close to 1/2 cup) of ricotta in the middle of the pasta piles, and garnish with pepper. Serve pronto.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • M Stuart Itter
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4 Reviews

Kay D. May 26, 2018
I just saw a food show with an episode from this restaurant. Her treatment of the ricotta was more than dolloping it on the pasta. She made a thin sauce from it, and topped the sauced pasta with some PR and pecorino romano (two PRs would be confusing).
So, I'm wondering if someone can get her original recipe?
Samantha July 8, 2017
On our trip to Rome a couple of years ago, we actually stumbled upon this restaurant and had this dish! I think they served it with fettucine. It was indeed delicious.
melissa July 7, 2017
This didn't work for me. After some googling I realized my mistakes: I didn't grate the cheese finely enough, and when adding the water and later the pasta to the cheese/cheese paste, the water was too hot and caused the cheese to become gummy, like mozzarella. Serious Eats and Lucky Peach have some good tips on how to approach this seemingly very simple recipe with the proper technique. Nevertheless, the end result was delicious, even though I had gummy cheese instead of a sauce! Will try again for sure.
M S. June 23, 2017
Strange. Thought it was key to heat the pepper in the oil to build flavor. Interesting that wet pasta or more pasta water is not used. The dryish paste does all the work. Just happened to read an old recipe by Victor Hazan for butter and parmesan sauce. He also coated the pasta with dryish cheese and kept pasta water to a minimum.