Sep 10, 2020

Cacio e Pepe Pizza

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Cacio e pepe is one of my favorite easy pasta recipes, so why not turn it into a pizza? Cacio e pepe translates to “cheese and pepper” which are basically the only two things on this pizza.

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While the pasta version is traditionally made with Parmesan, I opt to top the pizza with an easy Parmesan cream sauce, fresh mozzarella and cracked pepper.

It’s hard to get a really crispy crust without using a pizza oven which has temperatures in the high 100’s. So, instead, I partially bake my pizza crust before I add the toppings. That way the crust has a chance to crisp up. Another way to get a crispy crust is by using a pizza stone. Letting the oven heat up with the pizza stone inside allows it to get really hot before you place the dough on it.

Cacio e Pepe Pizza

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  •  Dough – Pizza is the perfect cure for a hectic tornado of a week. It’s fast and homemade dough is easy to make using my recipe here. If you want a shortcut, then instead of making homemade dough you can find pre-made dough in the refrigerated section of Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. I also recommend checking if your local pizza spot sells their dough, it’s a great way to support local!
  • Mornay sauce – Mornay sauce is a bechamel sauce with cheese added. The creamy Parmesan cheese sauce is used as the sauce for this pizza. It starts with a roux base – butter with flour whisked in then milk is simmered until its thickened and grated Parmesan is whisked in.
  • Parmesan – Parmesan-Reggiano is definitely one of my favorite cheeses. It’s a hard cow’s milk cheese aged for different lengths of time. I’d recommend buying a roughly cut piece of wrapped cheese from the grocery store – it’s typically a higher quality cheese.
  • Black pepper – I recommend using freshly cracked black pepper in this recipe. If your pepper grinder doesn’t do a coarse grind, use the flat side of a knife to press down and roll over the peppercorns.
Cacio e Pepe Pizza-15.jpg

How to Make Cacio e Pepe Pizza

  1. Prep the dough. Prepare dough according to recipe or let rise if needed.
  2. Make the mornay sauce. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add butter and allow to melt. Add the flour and whisk to combine. Let the roux cook for a minute until a pale golden brown. Add the milk, whisking to incorporate. Bring the mixture to a boil then lower the heat to medium-low. Cook, whisking occasionally, until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Slowly whisk in the Parmesan cheese until melted and completely combined. Set aside until ready to use.
  3. Heat oven or grill. Place pizza stone on the grill or in the oven and heat to 500ºF.
  4. Roll out the dough. Divide the dough in half and on a lightly floured surface, working one half at a time, roll out each half of dough into about a 10-inch circle. The dough should be fairly thin. Place the dough on top of the pizza peel lightly sprinkled with cornmeal. If you do not have a pizza stone/peel then prepare the dough on a lightly greased baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal.
  5. Par bake the crust. Rub half the olive oil over the pizza dough including the edges. Use a pizza peel to slide the dough with parchment paper underneath it onto the pre-heated pizza stone. Cook until the crust is a pale brown and bubbly, about 6 minutes.
  6. Assemble the pizza. Top with 1/3 cup of the Parmesan cream sauce and evenly spread around the dough, leaving about ½” crust around the edges. Tear the mozzarella into large pieces and arrange half over the top. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of the cracked pepper.
  7. Bake and serve. Return to the hot pizza stone and continue to cook until the edges are golden brown and the cheese is bubbly, about 8 minutes. Remove and cut into equal pieces. Repeat with the remaining pizza dough and ingredients.
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Tips and Tricks for Pizza

  • A pizza stone is a great investment as you end up with delicious, crispy, evenly cooked pizza.
  • Heat the oven with the pizza stone inside the oven or grill so that it is thoroughly heated when you start cooking the pizza.
  • Putting the dough on the parchment paper after rolling it out allows the dough to stick to it and then you can easily slide it onto the pizza stone from the pizza peel.
  • Another option is to use cornmeal but this is a much messier method. Once the pizza is cooked it slides right off the parchment paper and is nice and crispy.
  • If you do not have a pizza stone, cook your pizza on a lightly greased baking sheet.
  • I like to move my pizza to a cooling rack after it comes out so the bottom remains extra crispy.

Other Recipes to Try

Cacio e Pepe Pizza

hand picking up cheese and black pepper topped pizza
Print Pin
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Serves 4 people

Equipment:

  • Pizza Stone (optional)
  • Pizza Peel (optional)

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound pizza dough, get the recipe here
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour , plus additional for rolling out the dough
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces whole milk fresh mozzarella
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Instructions:

  • Prepare dough according to recipe or let rise if needed.
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, add butter and allow to melt. Add the flour and whisk to combine. Let the roux cook for a minute until a pale golden brown. Add the milk, whisking to incorporate. Bring the mixture to a boil then lower the heat to medium-low. Cook, whisking occasionally, until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Slowly whisk in the Parmesan cheese until melted and completely combined. Set aside until ready to use.
  • Place pizza stone on the grill or in the oven and heat to 500ºF.
  • Divide the dough in half and on a lightly floured surface, working one half at a time, roll out each half of dough into about a 10-inch circle. The dough should be fairly thin. Place the dough on top of the pizza peel lightly sprinkled with cornmeal. If you do not have a pizza stone/peel then prepare the dough on a lightly greased baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal.
  • Rub half the olive oil over the pizza dough including the edges. Use a pizza peel to slide the dough with parchment paper underneath it onto the pre-heated pizza stone. Cook until the crust is a pale brown and bubbly, about 6 minutes.
  • Top with 1/3 cup of the Parmesan cream sauce and evenly spread around the dough, leaving about ½” crust around the edges. Tear the mozzarella into large pieces and arrange half over the top. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of the cracked pepper.
  • Return to the hot pizza stone and continue to cook until the edges are golden brown and the cheese is bubbly, about 8 minutes. Remove and cut into equal pieces. Repeat with the remaining pizza dough and ingredients.

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