For a twist on the classic dish, this Gluten-Free Cacio e Pepe is made with chicken broth and features a peppercorn medley, Pecorino Romano & Parmesan.
I would like to tell you that this recipe was passed down through generations of my Italian side of the family. And how excited I was to finally have it in my possession!
But alas, that isn’t the case. Sigh. Oh, well. The truth is I never even had cacio e pepe before. My father never cooked it or taught me how to make it. I never enjoyed this dish during my childhood visits to my Italian great-grandmother in Newark, NJ. Nope. None of that ever happened.
In fact, the way I discovered this dish was from Greg, my Scottish/English/German husband who sent me this recipe for cacio e pepe in an EMAIL of all things with the subject line: “Make this gluten-free!”
“Ohhh Kaaaay,” I thought, completely intrigued by this dish. I decided to research its history and found that it is of Roman origin. It is typically constructed by first cooking spaghetti (or similar type of pasta) until al dente. Then pepper is toasted with olive oil or butter in a pan. Next, the cooked pasta is added to the pan, along with some of the remaining cooking water and grated cheese while tossing vigorously.
I decided to give it a go, using gluten-free spaghetti and putting my own twist on it by using hot chicken broth instead of reserved pasta water. I also opted for a colorful melange of whole peppercorns instead of ground black pepper. Finally, I garnished the finished product with crushed red pepper and fresh parsley. Perfecto! The sharpness of the cheese, the spicy toasted pepper, the cool fresh parsley and the kick of heat from the crushed red pepper came together to produce a truly amazing dish. Oh, cacio e pepe, where have you been all my life?
If you haven’t tried it, you must! For the love of cheese, you must! 🙂
Learn how to make it
To make this Gluten-Free Cacio e Pepe, start by cooking your favorite gluten-free spaghetti according to package directions until al dente. We used Bionaturae. While the pasta is cooking, heat chicken broth in a sauce pan until hot. In addition, toast peppercorns in a skillet for 3-5 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, grind peppercorns with mortar and pestle.
When the pasta is done, add butter, 1 ½ cups of broth and the ground pepper to the skillet and bring to a simmer.
Add the pasta to the simmering mixture and toss with tongs to coat.
Add cheese little by little while constantly tossing pasta until melted. Add more broth if necessary to achieve creamy consistency. Stir and continue cooking over medium heat until broth is absorbed.
Garnish with crushed red pepper and fresh chopped parsley if desired. Now dig in and enjoy! 🙂
Gluten-Free Cacio e Pepe
- 12 oz. package gluten-free spaghetti (We used Bionaturae)
- 1 tablespoon peppercorn medley
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ¾ cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- ¾ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- Crushed red pepper (for garnish)
- Fresh chopped parsley (for garnish)
- Cook spaghetti according to package directions until al dente.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat the chicken broth in a sauce pan until hot.
- Also while the pasta is cooking, toast the peppercorns in a skillet for 3-5 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, grind peppercorns with mortar and pestle.
- When the pasta is done, add butter, 1 ½ cups of broth and the ground pepper to the skillet and bring to a simmer.
- Add the pasta to the simmering mixture and toss with tongs to coat.
- Add the cheese little by little while constantly tossing pasta until melted.
- Add more broth if necessary to achieve creamy consistency. Stir and continue cooking over medium heat until broth is absorbed.
- Garnish and serve.
So, what do you think? Let me know in the comments below. And if you make this recipe, tag @watchlearneat in your photos on Instagram. 🙂
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