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Gluten-Free Cacio e Pepe (pasta with pepper and grated cheese)


Cacio e Pepe is a quick and tasty Roman Pasta Dish with a creamy, stirred peppery sauce ~ which is getting a little makeover. This gluten-free spaghetti is the best I’ve tried… use traditional pasta too.

A platter of Cacio e Pepe updated with added Garlic and Roasted Zucchini
Classic Cacio e Pepe – Spaghetti stirred with plenty of Fresh Cracked Pepper and Grated Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano Reggiano Cheeses
You’ll love this incredibly simple dish which requires minimal ingredients. Fun to prepare and super-simple. See recipe; the key is to get the creamy sauce just right.. it’s all in the stirring.

I’ve changed up the classic recipe (yes, I dare to do so!) to add a healthier profile with lots of oven roasted zucchini and chopped garlic. This is a great technique to get your required daily vegetables – and it tastes great… totally complements the pasta. I’m just back from the annual Hudson Valley Garlic Festival, and couldn’t wait to open the garlic’s papery skin to uncover the juicy summer garlic. Garlic here adds just the right kick and brightens the Casio e Pepe.

“Cacio e Pepe” means “cheese and pepper” in several central Italian dialects. As the name suggests, the ingredients of the dish are very simple and include only black pepper, Pecorino Romano cheese, and pasta.
This ancient dish dates back the origin of this simply but delicious Italian spaghetti and cheese to the Roman Empire.

The secret to it’s preparation:
To obtain a creamy sauce, “pasta water” – saved from the cooking of the spaghetti is essential.
Note: cheese and the starch of the cooking water are the only ingredients in the original cacio e pepe sauce.

Ingredients in my dish:
Extra virgin olive oil, freshly cracked black pepper, chopped garlic, saved pasta water, pasta (I chose a white rice gluten-free spaghetti), pecorino romano cheese, parmigiano reggiano cheese, roasted zucchini and garlic scapes (or chives.)

And – since the ingredients are few, the best quality is a must.

Here’s how to prepare: (see further instructions in the recipe)
Gluten- Free Pasta: the one I chose for the dish is White Rice Spaghetti (2 ingredients; white rice and water.)
It cooks up with the texture and a close flavor to standard spaghetti, offering a slightly starchier “pasta water.”
I am impressed by this, many gluten- free pastas have a very strong flavor from the ingredients.. chick peas.. corn flour – very assertive, the white rice variety is very neutral and does not break when stirred like many others do.

First: Roast zucchini batonnetes ahead of time. 
Add some extra virgin olive oil and lots of fresh cracked black pepper over low heat in a wide pan to blend the flavors and accentuate the pepper flavor. Then add chopped garlic and stir just for two minutes.
Cook the pasta, save some cooking water, add the water to the pan. Bring to a simmer, toss in the al dente pasta and stir.
Remove from heat add cheeses and stir to create a creamy sauce. Fold in the roasted zucchini and garnish with sliced garlic scapes or chives. Basil leaves are a nice garnish too – can also toss in tender basil leaves.


Ingredients for Casio e Pepe – I also add chopped garlic and roasted zucchini

This Gluten-Free Pasta cooks up like traditional spaghetti – does not break, and neutral in taste. Use regular Italian Pasta if you desire!

Add the pasta to the pan, then off heat stir in the cheesed stir for a creamy sauce.
See the creamy sauce which is achieved by stirring
Easy and fun to make this classic dish, updated for today


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