February 21, 2023

Cacio e Pepe Risotto

Cacio e Pepe… but make it risotto

Let’s take the beloved Cacio e Pepe, or other known as “cheese and pepper” pasta and make it better. This Cacio e Pepe risotto is creamy, cheesy, with a kick of pepper just like the traditional Italian dish. Before you exit this page because of the pre-notion that risotto is difficult to make, it isn’t. Like the rest of my risotto recipes, this easy approach to risotto does not require constant mixing to achieve that creamy perfectly cooked texture. In fact, this Cacio e Pepe risotto is almost as easy as the original.

Cacio e Pepe risotto, with extra pepper and cheese


Cacio e Pepe is a super traditional Italian pasta dish that consists of a few ingredients; pasta, pepper, butter, and cheese. That’s it. While this dish is incredible simple, it is also incredible easy to mess it up. Traditionally, Cacio e Pepe is made by adding butter and pasta water to a skillet, followed by pepper and cheese until the cheese has melted and the sauce comes together.

Make it correctly and you will have a creamy, cheesy, emulsified sauce that coats the noodles without the use of heavy cream or a roux. Make it incorrectly, and you are left with a clumpy mess. Lucky this Cacio e Pepe risotto is easy to make and almost impossible to mess up.

Cacio e Pepe risotto, with extra pepper and cheese


  • Arborio Rice – Carnaroli is also a great rice to use, however harder to come by. Don’t try and make this with the long grain rice in your pantry. Different varieties of rice absorb liquid differently, have a different starch level, and in the end just won’t yield the same results. Arborio and Carnaroli have high starch levels. More starch = creamier risotto. Carnaroli can be found online HERE.
  • Broth – Chicken or vegetable. Avoid low sodium broth, you’ll end up salting more during cooking anyways.
  • Dry White Wine – Choose a dry white wine. Unfortunately, cooking wine is a no no for this recipe. Instead a good rule of thumb is to cook with a wine you would drink.
  • Garlic – Fresh only!
  • Shallots – Sweet and subtle in flavor, making it perfect for risotto, especially this one in which we want the pepper to shine.
  • Pepper – Fresh cracked black pepper only! Do not use the fine, dusty, pre grounded pepper.
  • Pecorino Romano – Freshly grated! Consider Pecorino Romano, Parmesan’s cousin. Made with sheep milk instead of cows. While the texture is similar however Pecorino has a tangy, funkier flavor. If you absolutely need to sub out, Parmesan is okay to use.


All risotto start out the same; sauté the base, toast the rice, add the liquid, and cook. Below is my easy, less intimidating approach to this creamy rice dish. While this is the process and directions always refer to the recipe card below for final instructions.

Sauté the base – Add butter to a wide pot or pan on low heat. Sauté the base, in this recipe it is garlic and shallots. Cook for 2-3 minutes until soft and fragrant, but not brown. Once soft, add in 1 tsp of the pepper and cook for another 2 minutes, allowing the spice to bloom.

Toast the risotto – Next, add the dry not washed rice to the pan and toast it for 3-5 minutes until grains start to become translucent. I can not stress enough, do not wash the rice beforehand, this will completely strip the rice of the starches it needs to make this dish super creamy.

Deglaze with wine – If adding wine (optional in some recipes, suggested in this one) deglaze the pan and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the alcohol cooks off.

Add broth– Have your broth in a sauce pan on the stove to stay warm. Next, add the broth, but not all at once! For every cup of risotto, you need approx 4- 4 1/2 cups of broth. Have extra on hand! I found with different brands of arborio rice I needed + or – a cup. Depending on your pan, this might be split into 3 or 4 rounds. My rule of thumb is to pour just enough broth to cover the risotto, when the broth starts to dip below the grains it is time to add more.

Mix, add, shake – Mix 2-3 times per broth add. If you end up mixing more, no biggie! Also give the pan a mix or a shake midway to ensure the rice isn’t sticking to the bottom.

Final adds – In the last few minutes, right before all the broth has been absorbed add more pepper and a healthy amount of Peccorino Romano cheese. To avoid clumping, grate the cheese on the small hole side of a box grater or a microplane. The smaller grate will ensure that the cheese will melt. Turn off the heat, mix to incorporate, and serve immediately.

Cacio e Pepe risotto, with extra pepper and cheese, wine and pecorino romano cheese


I wish I could say that this risotto can be stored in the fridge and come back to life as if it was freshly made. Unfortunately, it won’t come back to the same creamy texture, the longer the risotto sits the more it will continue to absorb and eventually seize up. However you can store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight Tupperware for 2-3 days, and reheated in the microwave.

Can’t get enough risotto? Likewise my friend. Check out the below!

Spicy Vodka Risotto
Mushroom Risotto
Creamy Lemon Parm Risotto
Kale and Pancetta Risotto
Creamy Tomato Risotto 
Brown Butter + Sage Risotto
Lobster Risotto

February 21, 2023

Cacio e Pepe Risotto

Print Recipe Pin Recipe
All the flavors you would find in Cacio e Pepe but in a super creamy risotto.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Cacio e Pepe, Fried Rice, Risotto
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 3 people


  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 1 1/4 tsp freshly grounded black pepper
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4- 4 1/2 cups broth chicken or vegetable
  • 1 cup Pecorino Romano fresh, grated


  • Warm the broth separately on the stove.
  • In a wide pot on medium-low heat melt the butter. Once melted add shallots, garlic and a 1/4 tsp of salt. Sweat and cook down for 2-3 minutes until fragrant and soft.
  • Add in 1 tsp of the black pepper and cook for another minute.
  • Add arborio rice and mix to combine. Toast rice for 3-4 minutes until it starts to become translucent.
  • Add the wine and stir. Cook for 2-3 minutes before adding the first round of broth. Depending on the pan add broth until it just covers the risotto. (could be 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups). Give it a quick mix, a shake of the pan to ensure all grains are covered and cook until rice absorbs the majority of the broth. Mix every few minutes to avoid the rice from sticking.
  • Add more broth and repeat above steps.
  • Once almost all the broth has been added (approx. 4 cups), but not completely absorbed (15-18 minutes of cooking) give it a taste. Rice should still be loose, yet al dente. If it is still hard add more broth 1/4 cup at a time and cook down.
  • Turn off the heat. Add the remaining pepper, 1 tbsp of butter, and cheese. Mix to combine and melt the cheese. Serve immediately.

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Recipe Rating

  1. 5 stars
    I can’t get over how delicious this risotto was. i made it for family this past weekend and i’m making it again tonight because my son was asking for it. it’s so easy to make and as an italian, the cacio pepe flavor is spot on. well done!

  2. 5 stars
    Theboldappetite has a lot of amazing risottos but this might be my favorite. Cheesy, mildly peppery goodness! 5 stars!