Cacio e Pepe Risotto is a delicious take on the classic Italian pasta dish. It's luscious and creamy with perfectly tender rice and plenty of fresh cracked pepper and freshly grated parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese.
KEY INGREDIENTS & SUBSTITUTIONS:
- Arborio Rice: A perfectly plump rice for risotto and easy to find in your local store. Check out more rice varieties you can use here.
- Vegetable Stock: If you have homemade that is preferable, but I used store-bought. You can also use chicken stock.
- Onion: White onion very finely chopped is best for this recipe.
- White Wine: Dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio) is ideal for cooking with, and make sure you get one you also want to drink. Not only because you want to cook with good quality ingredients, but also because you won't be using the whole bottle for this recipe, so you'll likely drink the remaining!
- If you do not have/use alcohol in your household, skip this and supplement with additional broth.
- Parmesan Cheese/Pecorino Romano Cheese: You can use either/or, or a combination of both of these cheeses. It's important that they're freshly grated for optimal creaminess and infusion into the dish.
- Black Pepper: If you can use freshly grated, definitely do.
KITCHEN EQUIPMENT YOU'LL NEED:
- Stock pot
- Heavy-bottom pot
- Chef's knife
- Cutting board
- Measuring cups / spoons
- Ladle or ½ cup measure
- Cheese grater
HOW TO MAKE CACIO E PEPE RISOTTO:
- Heat your stock. In a pot, heat your stock on low heat until warm but not simmering. Keep there for use throughout the cooking process.
- Cook the onion. Sauté the onion with 1 tbsp olive oil on medium heat until translucent, but not browned.
- Toast the rice. To the cooked onion add the rice and toast it for about 1 minute.
- Deglaze. To the onion and rice mixture, add the white wine to deglaze the pan. Then allow that to cook for about 2 minutes until most of the wine is absorbed.
- Add the stock one ladle at a time. When the wine is mostly absorbed, start adding the stock to the rice one ladle-full at a time (about ½ cup), stirring almost constantly. Once each ladle-full is absorbed by the rice, add the next. Each will take about 4-5 minutes to fully absorb. All-in-all should take about 25-30 minutes.
- Add the finishing ingredients. Once all the stock is absorbed. Add the butter, cheese, and black pepper. Mix until combined. Serve with additional cheese and black pepper if desired.
HOW TO KNOW WHEN RISOTTO IS DONE COOKING:
Throughout the cooking process you'll see the rice absorbing the liquid gradually, which gives it the best texture.
Your finished risotto should have plump, fluffy rice with a slightly al-dente and tender texture. It should be relatively creamy (sans the presence of actual cream).
WHAT IS RISOTTO AND WHAT ARE ITS ORIGINS?
Risotto is rice a dish from Northern Italy, traditionally cooked by slowly adding broth until it reaches a creamy consistency. This process allows the rice to gradually release its starches, resulting in a creamy dish. The broth can be derived from meat, fish, or vegetables. More info here.
The Arabs first brought rice to Italy in the 14th Century because the climate and land was ideal for growing rice. More info here.
HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT THIS CACIO E PEPE RISOTTO:
This is a very simple dish to store and reheat.
Similar to most dishes, store in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to 5 days.
To reheat risotto, simply place it in the microwave for a few minutes (depending on the strength of your microwave) stirring mid-way through.