If you have tried it once you probably love it. Pasta – fresh or dry – roman pecorino cheese, black pepper and boiling water. Like many other traditional roman dishes, the cacio e pepe is a result of the culinary tradition of the humble roman population. The farmers used their creativity to make a rich and delicious dish out of few and simple ingredients.
In spite of the simple ingredients the cacio e pepe is not simple to prepare at all. The risk is to make it too dry or too savory or make it in a way thast the taste of the black pepper or the pecorino are too dominant over the rest.
Its unique cream is indeed a result of the perfect balancing of the ingredients and their skillful mixing that is an art in its own merit.
The type of pasta that is normally used for the cacio e pepe is the tonnarello. The tonnarello is a type of eggmade spaghetti capable of absorbing the creaminess of the cheese. Cacio e Pepe though is equally good with “short” kind of pasta such as maccheroni or rigatoni.
Probably every grandmother in Rome has her own secret recipe that makes everybody in the family drool and ready to gobble down a delicious cacio e pepe.
In any event if you’re just a tourist in Rome and you’re not so lucky to have a grandmother in Rome then it’s up to us to make a list of a few restaurants that over the years have become true ambassadors of this traditional dish.
In Testaccio cacio e pepe rhymes with Felice. Felice Trivelloni’s trattoria opened in 1936 and it’s been a true legend ever since. A true landmark of the roman cuisine.
The tonnarelli alla cacio e pepe there is a unique experience: its ingredients are mixed directly at the table right before the eyes of the customers that cannot help but to salivate at this sight. Felice is located at via Mastro Giorgio, 29.
Also in Testaccio the Velavevodetto carries the flag of the roman cuisine. The restaurant features dishes made only with local and diverse ingredients. Even though the chalkboard is updated every day (for the aforementioned reason), the cacio e pepe is a fixed feature. There is no trick involved in the preparation. Only love and dedication in every dish. Flavio al Velalvevodetto is located in Via di Monte Testaccio, 97.
If you’re walking around Garbatella, genuine neighborhood foodwise, you might want to enjoy a nice dish of tonnarelli cacio e pepe at the trattoria Tanto pe’ magnà.
In this place the tradition and purity of the dish are respected. So much that you won’t resist doing the final “scarpetta” with homemade bread to clean the plate and taste this dish’s amazing flavour. The Trattoria Tanto pe’ magnà is located in via Giustino de Jacobis, 9.
Walking around the alleys of Trastevere you may bump into another typical traditional trattoria. The l’Antica Trattoria da Carlone where the main feature is the tonnarelli cacio e pepe.
Don’t be scared of the huge dish. It’s so good that you won’t be able to stop eating! The Antica Trattoria da Carlone is located in via della Luce, 5.
If you happen to be near piazza Santa Cecilia instead, still in Trastevere, and you wish to try a different version of the cacio e pepe, then go to the restaurant Roma Sparita.
There the eggmade tagliolini take the place of the typical tonnarelli and they are served into a crusty bowl of grana cheese. The experience will be as satisfactory as can be and the creaminess of the mix is guaranteed. Roma Sparita is in piazza di Santa Cecilia, 24.
Is your mouth watering yet?