30-minutes, only 4-ingredients and you’ll be transported to the bustling streets of Rome! This cacio e pepe pizza is an ode to the popular Roman pasta dish, cacio e pepe and couldn’t be easier to make!
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What’s so special about this Cacio E Pepe Pizza recipe
I was inspired to make this not only after cacio e pepe pasta became a favorite on a trip to Italy, but while watching Giada DeLaurentis and Bobby Flay travel through Italy. I wanted to marry the flavors of a simple pasta dish with a simple pizza or flatbread.
This cacio e pepe pizza is so easy to make. With just 4 ingredients and store bought pizza dough, you don’t need any fancy tools or ingredients to make a quick and easy gourmet pizza for dinner. Serve it with a simple salad and dinner’s done in no time.
A few notes on the ingredients:
- Pecorino cheese: A sheep's milk cheese that has a bit stronger flavor than parmesan. If you can’t find it in your local grocery, try Whole Foods or grab it online here.
Simple step by step instructions
About 20 minutes before you prepare the cacio e pepe pizza, preheat the oven to 500 degrees and put a baking sheet or pizza steel in the oven to heat up while you prepare the pizza.
Split your dough in half and shape each half into a round circle roughly 8-9” diameter. Use a lightly floured surface and rolling pin if needed to stretch the dough into shape. Use as little flour as possible. I like to use a silicone baking mat to roll dough out so that it doesn’t stick with relatively little flour.
Just before putting the dough into the oven, sprinkle the crushed ice over the top of the pizza. Then carefully slide the pizza dough onto the hot pan in the oven.
While the pizza cooks, grate your parmesan and pecorino into a small bowl and toss it with the black pepper. Place this by your oven so you can quickly grab it when you pizza comes out.
Bake for 8-10 minutes until it is browned on edges. Take the cooked pizza dough out of the oven and immediately sprinkle each pizza with ¾ cup of the cheese and pepper mixture. Drizzle olive oil over the top and optionally finish with a sprinkle of kosher salt.
How to make the pizza creamy like cacio e pepe pasta
That’s the trick here. If you were to just put the cheese and pepper onto the pizza before baking it, you would have a not super exciting dish on your hands. The pecorino and parmesan might not melt and the richness of the dish would disappear.
By putting ice on the top of the dough before cooking it you end up mimicking the effect of the pasta water that is typically used in cacio e pepe. This layer on the dough, and the cheese being applied after it comes out of the hot oven, helps imitate the creaminess of the pasta dish quite well.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you can’t find pizza dough at your local grocer ( I like to use the Trader Joe’s dough in their refrigerated section) you have a few options. You can sometimes order just the dough from your local pizza shop. Alternatively, you can make your own or use frozen bread dough instead. Just thaw based on the package directions and then continue with the recipe as written.
If you have a local kosher grocery store nearby, you can usually find both parmesan and pecorino in the dairy section. If you don’t, I recommend Block and Wedge online. They have every type of kosher cheese you can imagine.
One more simple tip
Be sure to grate your cheese as you need it. When you purchase pre-grated cheese, they typically have an anti-caking agent that keeps the cheese from clumping together. That also means that the cheese doesn’t always melt or incorporated into your recipe as well as you might like. Grab a simple microplane and grate away!
Looking for Italian inspired recipes? Try these:
When you try this recipe and love it 😍 let me know by leaving a comment below or 5 ⭐ rating!
Cacio e Pepe Pizza (Just 4 ingredients)
- Sheet Pan or Pizza Steel
- 1 ball store bought pizza dough
- 1 ½ cup grated cheese (parmesan and pecorino mixed in whatever combination you like, start with ½ and ½)
- 1 TB freshly ground black pepper
- 1 TB olive oil (for finishing)
- 4 oz crushed ice
- At least 20 minutes in advance, preheat the oven to 500 degrees and put a baking sheet or pizza steel in the oven to heat up while you prepare the pizza.
- Split your dough in half and shape each half into a round shape roughly 8-9” diameter. Use a lightly floured surface and rolling pin if needed.
- Just before putting the dough into the oven, sprinkle the crushed ice over the top of the pizza.
- While the pizza cooks, grate your parmesan and pecorino into a small bowl and toss it with the black pepper.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes until it is browned on edges. Take out of the oven and immediately sprinkle each pizza with ¾ cup of the cheese and pepper mixture. Drizzle olive oil the top and optionally finish with a sprinkle of kosher salt.
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