Cacio e pepe potato gnocchi is a quick and delicious main course or side dish. Potato gnocchi smothered in a cheesy creamy pepper sauce without cream. Ready in 20 minutes.
What is cacao e pepe
Cacio e pepe means “cheese and pepper in Italian and pronounces like “kah-cheeoh eh peh-peh.” It is a very popular dish in Italy and traditionally made with bucatini pasta, Pecorino cheese and cracked black pepper. You can’t substitute pecorino cheese with Parmesan because authentic Cacio e pepe is made only with Pecorino cheese. It has a quality to turn into a cream when it is mixed with hot water.
Yes, you can make creamy pasta sauce without adding cream! All you need are a few ladles of pasta water and fresh grated pecorino cheese and tons of freshly-cracked black pepper.
If you’ve never tried gnocchi before, you are missing a lot. These Italian dumplings are truly delicious and go well with so many sauces.
This cacao e pepe potato gnocchi recipe is super easy and effortless! I use the store bought gnocchi to save a whole bunch of time. They are perfect vehicles for cacio e pepe sauce.
To make it a complete meal, I usually add veggies. I used green beans and peas. But mushrooms and asparagus will work well too.
If you wish, you can make ultra-soft gnocchi at home as well.
Cacio e pepe Gnocchi ingredients
What I love most about this dish is that you need just a few simple ingredients. But surprisingly, this dish is very rich, flavourful and delicious. You will need:
- Potato gnocchi: For busy weeknights the per-made potato gnocchi will work the best. It usually takes 3-4 minutes to cook them. However, you can make gnocchi from scratch.
- Fresh grated pecorino romano cheese: Use quality pecorino cheese because it is the key ingredient in this dish. Please don’t use Parmesan! It will not make the sauce as creamy as pecorino cheese. You can get pecorino from your local grocery store. You will need about 2 cups.
- Ground black pepper: Use freshly-cracked black pepper. It will give that authentic taste. Adjust the amount to your taste. But you should feel the heat.
- Green beans and peas: Use any veggies of your choice. I like mushrooms and asparagus too.
- Salt: Add salt only if needed.
How to make cacio e pepe gnocchi
Cook the gnocchi: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the gnocchi and cook according to package instructions until they start floating on the surface.
Sauté veggies: Heat oil in a large skillet and cook veggies until tender. Once gnocchi is done, add it to the skillet using a slotted spoon. Reduce the heat and cook further for a few minutes.
Make the sauce: Combine the grated parmesan cheese and a few ladles of hot gnocchi water in a medium bowl. Whisk until you get a creamy smooth mixture. Pour it into the skillet with veggies and gnocchi. Adjust the seasoning and serve immediately.
How to stop cheese from clumping in cacio e pepe
Cacio e pepe sauce must be smooth and silky if done the right way. Here are some helpful tips:
- Grate pecorino cheese yourself: Pre-grated cheese makes the sauce clumpy. It is actually very easy to grate the cheese in a food processor. The job will be done in seconds for you.
- Grate the cheese first: Grate the cheese before you start cooking because later you will need to mix it with really hot gnocchi water. And you won’t have time to grate it. And make sure to grate it on the finest holes. Cheese grated on large holes takes longer to melt and will clump.
- Use high quality pecorino cheese: Pecorino Romano cheese is the key ingredient in this recipe. Use high quality cheese. Bring it to room temperature and whisk into the sauce ½ cup at a time. This way it will melt more evenly. You will need to whisk it about 3-4 minutes, depending on the temperature of the gnocchi water, quality of cheese, age and the size of the bowl. The cheese will finish melting once you add it into the skillet.
How to store cacio e pepe potato gnocchi
If you have leftovers, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
How to reheat cacio e pepe
Cacio e pepe potato gnocchi reheats really well on the stove or in microwave.
Microwave: I recommend to add 2 tablespoons of water. No need to stir it in. Microwave for 1 minute, then stir and microwave further for 1 minute or until warmed through.
On the stove: Reheat in a skillet over medium heat. And add two tablespoons of water to thin the sauce.
Cacio e pepe Video
Side dishes for cacio e pepe
If you make cacio e pepe gnocchi be sure to leave a comment or give this recipe a rating! I will be happy to hear from you!Print
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