Topped with just olive oil, pecorino cheese, salt and pepper, and cream, Cacio e Pepe pizza is surprisingly satisfying and packed with flavor. Pair it with red wine and arugula salad for a simple yet sophisticated meal.
Cacio e Pepe, a classic Italian pasta recipe, is a natural for pizzafication: nothing but high-quality cheese, some olive oil, and lots of freshly ground black pepper. To meld the flavors and soften the texture a bit, I drizzle on some heavy cream both before and after baking. Perfetto!
Cacio e Pepe Pizza FAQs
Yep! Pecorino is the classic choice for the pasta version of this recipe, but, really, any aged, hard cheese will work fine, as long as it's high quality and full of flavor. Whenever there are only a few ingredients on a pizza, it behooves you to splurge on the best versions of each. This is a great opportunity to visit a nearby cheese shop and ask the cheesemonger for recommendations.
My weeknight dough is great here, because it won't puff up as much during baking. However, as long as you keep an eye on it in the oven and pierce bubbles as they form (so you get a nice, flat pizza), I highly recommend using either my Neapolitan or Overnight dough recipe.
Cacio e pepe pasta tends to be more unctuous and filling than this pizza version. So, you'll definitely want to serve it with a salad (arugula is an awesome pairing), maybe topped with some chickpeas or other protein to help you feel more satisfied.
Looking for more pizzafied classics? Once you master Cacio e Pepe pizza, here are a few others to try:
- Butternut Squash Chili Pizza
- Pizza alla Puttanesca
- Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Pizza
- Philly Cheesesteak Pizza
- Loaded Taco Pizza with all the Fixings
- Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Pizzas
Cacio e Pepe Pizza
- Rolling pin (optional)
- pastry brush
- Large rimmed baking sheet or baking stone/steel
- Pizza peel (optional)
- 1 (14- to 16-ounce) ball pizza dough
- High-quality extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated (1 cup)
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
- ¼ cup heavy cream, divided
- Kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 500°F (if using a baking sheet) or as high as it will go (if using a baking stone/steel; place the stone in the top third or place the steel in the bottom third of the oven before you start preheating). Let the oven preheat for at least 30 minutes. Then, if you’re using a baking stone or steel, switch the oven to Broil on high.
- Stretch or roll out your dough to a 12- to 14-inch circle, then transfer it to a baking sheet / pizza pan or a lightly floured pizza peel (if using a baking stone/steel).
- Prick the dough all over with a fork and brush it lightly with oil, making sure to get the oil all the way to the edges. In a medium bowl, toss together the cheese and 1 to 1½ teaspoons of black pepper, then dump the mixture onto the oiled dough and spread it out evenly, leaving a 1-inch border of dough. Drizzle with half of the cream.
- Transfer the pizza to the oven and bake until the crust is golden and the cheese has browned in spots—8 to 10 minutes on the baking sheet, 5 to 8 minutes on the baking stone/steel.
- As soon as the pizza comes out of the oven, drizzle on the remaining cream, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and finish with a pinch of black pepper (if desired). Let it rest for 5 minutes, then slice and serve.