Cacio e Pepe Orzo

5 from 4 votes
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Cacio e Pepe is a dish that proves simple is often best. While this Cacio e Pepe Orzo is not traditional, as authentic Cacio e Pepe uses only three ingredients, this version is extra creamy, indulgent, and a unique spin on the classic. Plus, it takes 10 minutes to make, if the doesn’t convince you to give this recipe a go, I don’t know what will.

What is Cacio e Pepe?

Traditionally, Cacio e Pepe (pronounced: kaa-chee-ow ee peh-pay) is made with three ingredients: pecorino Romano, freshly ground black pepper, and pasta, usually spaghetti, along with the starchy water from cooking the pasta. ‘Cacio‘ refers to the cheese, and ‘Pepe‘ refers to the pepper.

Despite how simple this dish is, there is always a debate going on about the ingredients used in a traditional Cacio e Pepe. An authentic Cacio e Pepe does not contain butter, olive oil or cream.

Looking for more orzo recipes?

If you answered yes, be sure to check out the recipes below:

4 steps to make Cacio e Peppe Orzo

  1. Grate the cheese: use either fresh parmesan or pecorino Romano, as this will ensure it melts well into the orzo. The powder stuff is a no-go in this recipe.
  2. Toast your orzo: lightly toast your orzo before adding the chicken stock, as this will add more flavour to the dish.
  3. Cook your orzo: ladle in about a cup of stock at a time until the orzo is fully cooked.
  4. Add your cream and cheese: finish this off with a touch of cream and cheese and mix to combine until silky and smooth.

Ingredients

Here is a quick overview of the ingredients you’ll need to make my Cacio e Pepe Orzo. For the exact detailed measurements and ingredients, scroll to the bottom of this page to review my recipe card.

  • 1 box orzo: uncooked
  • ¾ tbsp whole peppercorns: freshly ground, which converts to about 2 teaspoons of ground black pepper. You can certainly add more if you want a more spicey/peppery dish.
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup pecorino Romano or parmesan cheese: freshly grated, not the powdered stuff! I have made this recipe with both, and I prefer the pecorino Romano.
  • 3 cups chicken stock: salted, as we don’t add any salt to the dish. If you don’t have salted stock you will need to add salt.
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream: this is optional, but does add a nice creaminess to the dish.
  • parsley fresh: chopped, optional

Storing & reheating

Have leftovers? Lucky you. Store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days. To reheat, simply microwave for 34-50 seconds. Keep in mind, given the simplicity of this recipe, it’s always better eaten fresh.

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If you enjoyed my Cacio e Pepe Orzo recipe, consider leaving me a 5 star rating and review in my recipe card provided below, it means so very much to me!

5 from 4 votes

Cacio e Pepe Orzo

By Sammy Montgoms
Cacio e Pepe is a dish that proves simple is often best. While this Cacio e Pepe Orzo is not traditional, as authentic Cacio e Pepe uses only three ingredients, this version is extra creamy, indulgent, and a unique spin on the classic. Plus, it takes 10 minutes to make, if the doesn't convince you to give this recipe a go, I don't know what will.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients 

  • 1 box orzo (340 grams), uncooked
  • ¾ tbsp whole peppercorns, freshly ground
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup pecorino Romano or parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 3 cups chicken stock, salted
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream
  • parsley, fresh, chopped, optional

Instructions 

  • Begin by finely grating your fresh parmesan or pecorino Romano.
    Set aside until ready to use.
    Tip: use fresh cheese over the powdered stuff to ensure a silky smooth texture.
  • Using a mortar and pestle, grind up the peppercorns until they reach a fine consistency.
    Set aside 2 teaspoons of the freshly ground pepper.
  • To a large pan, add your ground peppercorns and set to medium heat.
    Toast your peppercorns for 45 seconds, mixing often.
  • Add your butter and combine the pepper with the butter.
  • Add your uncooked orzo, and lightly toast for 1-2 minutes on medium/high heat.
  • Add one cup of chicken stock, mix to combine, and let it lightly simmer until 90% of the stock has been absorbed.
  • Add the second cup of stock, let simmer for a couple minutes until 90% of the stock has been absorbed and then add your last cup of stock.
  • Continue to simmer until the stock is absorbed and the orzo is fully cooked.
    Tip: if your stock has been absorbed but the orzo still needs another minute or two to cook, and 1/2 cup of water and continue to simmer until fully cooked.
  • Turn the heat to low, add your heavy cream and cheese.
  • Mix to combine, ensuring the cheese melts entirely. About 1 minute.
  • Dish up right away, top with more parmesan cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, and fresh parsley.

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Sammy Montgoms
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Course: Main Course, pasta, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian
Servings: 4 people

About Sammy Montgoms

I am so glad you are here. I am a BIG foodie gal. I am one of those people who lives to eat, rather than eats to live. I love to create nostalgic Italian dishes (especially pasta), but I also love to whip up simple and quick recipes for my family. Hopefully, my page inspires you to do the same. Thank you for being here, and happy eating!

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Recipe Rating




6 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Love love love this recipe. I should have cut it in half but I wanted to make it exactly as the recipe for the first time. It took a little longer for the Orzo to become the consistency that I prefer, but didn’t matter because it was delicious. I sautéd shrimp and we loved it. Thanks for sharing. (I’ve also made the orzo Boursin spinach and sun dried tomatoes…delish).

  2. 5 stars
    Absolutely flipping fantastic. I didn’t have any cream so I use a couple of tablespoons of mascarpone cheese and added a some grilled chicken, bellissimo!