This authentic Italian Cacio e Pepe Risotto comes together in just 30 minutes and is the perfect combination of creamy cheese and pepper.
Risotto Cacio e Pepe is my twist on one of my favorite pasta dishes! Inspired by Italian Chefs like Bottura and Cannavacciuolo.
Ingredients You'll Need for This Cheesy Italian Risotto
A few simple ingredients here can turn into something totally special with a little love! The ingredients you'll need for this recipe include:
- 2 cups Arborio Rice
- Freshly Cracked Pepper
- Chicken Broth or vegetable stock
- Parmigiano Reggiano
- Olive Oil or butter
- Optional: a splash of white wine
If you want to take this to the healthier side, you could definitely substitute in cauliflower rice and cook just until the cauliflower is tender! Cauliflower Risotto Cacio e Pepe is a great low-carb side dish option.
How to Make Risotto Cacio e Pepe So It Turns Out Right Every Time
So risotto sounds tricky, right? Maybe that's why you've never tried it? I'm here to debunk that! It only require a little patience and you will have yourself a stunning side dish!
- Toast the arborio rice! Over medium high heat add the olive oil and rice and give it a good stir until the rice begins to toast.
- Little by little, stir in the broth about 1/2 cup at a time. This is the key to risotto! Don't rush this process.
- You'll continue to stir the rice until it has absorbed the liquid then add another 1/2 cup.
- This process should take approximately 20-30 minutes and is totally worth it! You are looking for a thick consistency in the rice.
- Once it has cooked to al-dente (or a little chewy) stir in the salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese!
Let's Talk About the Cheese and Pepper
The key to creating a Risotto Cacio e Pepe is the cheese and black pepper. Those are traditional Cacio e Pepe pasta flavors and they go so perfectly in this dish!
It might seem like this is using way too much pepper but that's exactly the beauty of this dish! However, feel free to adjust the seasonings to your liking.
Other substations include pecorino cheese instead of parmesan for something a little different.
Although each change you make takes it further from traditional Cacio e Pepe pasta, that is what getting in the kitchen is all about.
And as I mentioned above you can use cauliflower rice in place of arborio rice, just make sure you don't cook it as long! Only cook it until the cauliflower is tender.
What to Serve with Risotto Cacio Pepe
I have a few delicious suggestions to serve with my take on this Italian dish, from salads to main dishes. I would serve this with...
- Chicken Cacciatore Soup - a delicious tomato based soup, its filled with chicken and vegetables that would pair perfectly with this risotto!
- Vodka Sauce and Meatballs - Whip up some hearty meatballs to serve along side this dish and some homemade vodka sauce to go with it!
- Romesco Chicken - A baked chicken dish with a tangy romesco sauce would be a great light main dish to go with rich Risotto Cacio e Pepe.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make risotto with quinoa?
It's possible to make this dish using quinoa but it won't be the same. The beauty of rice is that its full of starches that slowly cook out and create that dreamy "sauce" in risotto.
What's the best type of rice to use?
With that being said, arborio rice is hands down the best option for risotto of any kind! It's starchy, tried, and true! It's the traditional rice to use in risotto. However, I've also used pearl barley and it worked well but was not exactly the same.
I've also even used lentils to make a 20 minute risotto! So it's up to you if you want to veer from the traditional way of making it.
If this recipe got you hooked, give my 20-minute Lentil Mushroom Risotto a try!
Risotto Cacio e Pepe
- skillet or pot
- 2 cups Arborio Rice
- 8 cups Chicken Stock or vegetable stock
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp freshly cracked pepper
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
- In a pot or shallow skillet add the olive oil (or butter) over medium-high heat.
- Add in the rice and stir to coat in the oil.
- Cook for 3-5 minutes until toasted.
- 1/2 a cup at a time, add in the broth and stir until each addition is absorbed. This should take 20-30 minutes and you may not use all the broth.
- About halfway through, taste the rice to see how much longer it might need to be cooked. We are looking for al-dente (slightly chewy)
- Once it is done cooking, stir in the salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese.
- Top with freshly cracked pepper and enjoy immediately!