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.
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.
2tablespoonsall-purpose flour, plus additional for rolling out the dough
1 cupwhole milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup cornmeal
2tablespoonsextra-virgin olive oil
8ounceswhole milk fresh mozzarella
1teaspoonfreshly cracked black pepper
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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