Experiencing Rome’s Best Cacio e Pepe
Cacio e pepe is a traditional Roman pasta dish that has gained worldwide popularity due to its simplicity and delciousness. Not to mention how much I talk about it! Cacio e pepe is beloved in Rome, much like the Colosseum! So there is no excuse for not tasting it when visiting Italy’s capital.
The name of the dish comes from the two main ingredients: cacio, meaning cheese, and pepe, meaning black pepper. The pasta must be cooked al dente and mixed with a sauce made from grated Pecorino Romano cheese, black pepper and starchy pasta water. Creamy, salty, spicy, and undeniably satisfying all at the same time, cacio e pepe embodies the majesty of Rome without forgetting to honor its people. If you combine this with tradition, it has a perfect balance of flavors.
Cacio e pepe is a staple in many Italian restaurants worldwide and has become a go-to comfort food for many pasta lovers. Can you believe apart from the pasta, it only has 2 other ingredients?
History of Cacio e Pepe
Legend has it that the origins of this delicious dish date back centuries. Back to when shepherds spent the spring and summer months in the meadows of the Apennine Mountains, which span the length of Italy.
While taking care of their flocks, the shepherds would eat the supplies they brought with them. They always had dried pasta and pepper, which were inexpensive, easy to transport, and fully resistant to spoilage. These two ingredients would be mixed with cheese made from the milk of their own herds. And it would create an irresistible yet straightforward meal that would keep them warm on chilly evenings in the meadows.
Searching for the Best Cacio e Pepe in Rome
Cacio e pepe, like everything else in Rome, is subject to individual interpretation and some local controversy because of that! These dishes, found throughout the city whether original or an adaptation, each claim to be “the best” in Rome.
This savory pasta dish is known as the original mac and cheese. While a cacio e pepe recipe is simple and uses very minimal ingredients there are several techniques and countless variations that all make the dish truly outstanding. If you find yourself touring the beautiful streets of Rome, here are the three restaurants that serve some of the best cacio e pepe in Rome that I tried on my recent visit!
Pasta Imperiale is located on Via dei Coronari which is a picturesque street located in the historic center of Rome. Situated near Piazza Navona, this is one of the most stunning and renowned squares in the heart of the city. This casual pasta take-out restaurant is known for carbonara, tomato ragu & of course, cacio e pepe.
Watch my tour with Alberto, how they make their cacio e pepe and get answers to some of the top questions about this dish here: YouTube Channel, Vincenzo’s Plate. The entire taste experience was beautiful and I definitely recommend a visit!
Ristorante Fuocolento is a popular restaurant located in the heart of Rome. The restaurant prides itself on serving classic Roman dishes with a modern twist. They use fresh, high-quality ingredients to create flavorful yet innovative seafood, meat, and pasta dishes.
Near the famous Piazza Navona on Via Flavia, Ristorante Fuocolento is surrounded by some of the best nightlife as well as 50 Kalò Pizzeria, Marcella Royal Hotel, and Gelateria La Romana. Ristorante Fuocolento is one of my favorite restaurants in Rome and any foodies favorite spot. With its delicious food, welcoming atmosphere and attentive service this is one of the best places to people-watch, dine outdoors and drink wine.
Their use of fresh egg pasta and unique addition of olive oil to their cacio e pepe is a true balance of flavor. It’s a must watch on my YouTube Channel how they do it, and something you should try in Rome. What do you think of the addition of the oil?
Ristorante Di Rienzo is a popular family-run restaurant in Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood, that has been serving traditional Roman cuisine for over four generations.
This cafe with its piazza terrace overlooks the Pantheon, the Garden of Rome, so you might find yourself lingering for not only the food, though that in and of itself, is a must-try for some of the best cacio e pepe in Rome.
Cacio e pepe has won over countless people all over the world, including the esteemed and dearly departed Anthony Bourdain.
On an episode of “No Reservations,” Bourdain boldly declared the dish “could be the greatest thing in the history of the world.” So “when in Rome” it is a MUST-TRY! When it comes cacio e pepe, what pasta they use and all the secrets foodies must know about this very special dish the answers are in these great finds in Rome.
Watch my full tour on: YouTube Channel Vincenzo’s Plate. Then, when you visit Italy, you know exactly where to go to find the best cacio e pepe in Rome.
Join my private exclusive Italian Tours “Italy Unexplored Tour” and experience the Real Italy like you have never seen before.
The tour is exclusive to only 10 passionate foodies and it’s very unique. (Click here to get more details)
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