It's hard to imagine visiting Rome without feasting on a bowl of cacio e pepe, one of the city's pillars of pasta. Translating to "cheese and pepper," story has it this classic Italian recipe was the meal of shepherds. It's traditionally made with tonnarelli or spaghetti and no dairy other than Pecorino Romano. Our take on the ancient dish was inspired by the cacio e pepe lasagna created by Rita Sodi, chef-owner of New York–based Italian restaurant I Sodi, which blew up on Insta last winter. It encapsulates the cheesy, peppery goodness in pillowy soft rolls. Buon appetito!
This recipe originally appeared in our Fall 2021 issue. Get the magazine here.
*Traditional dried lasagna noodles can be substituted for fresh pasta. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat; add noodles and cook until al dente and pliable, 6 to 8 minutes.These noodles are slightly smaller than the fresh sheets but they have a similar length. Since the pasta will already be al dente before baking, reduce the cooking time by 10 minutes (don't increase heat to 400°; just finish under the broiler until the top is browned, 4 to 7 minutes).
Traditional cacio e pepe comes together with just 3 ingredients.
Pecorino Romano: The aged sharp cheese, combined with a few scoops of pasta cooking water, forms the creamiest sauce.
Black Pepper: Freshly cracked is key here—and don't be shy about using it.
Pasta: Tonnarelli, a long noodle made with eggs, is classic, but spaghetti is perfectly fine.