Cacio e Pepe, Pecorino Romano and Pepper with Zucchine Recipe

Zucchine with Cacio e Pepe

I’m thinking today we could all use a bit of comfort. For those who are in the Northeast and want the storm to be past and over (with their homes and loved ones intact), and for the rest of us who refresh Twitter feeling helpless…we could use a bit of comfort, right?

Meet Pecorino Romano cheese. I’m in love with it. Really. Except it’s a slightly destructive relationship. I keep eating the thing I love the most. It’s becoming my go-to comfort food, much like macaroni and cheese used to be (and still will remain).

I spent a weekend in Rome a few weeks ago, and I had some pasta while I was there. While it’s not that big of a deal, I haven’t really been eating much pasta lately. Not because I am trying to cut it out, but because I just don’t miss it that much (I talk about Eating What You Love on my healthy living site, Food Blogger on a Diet). I’d much rather have a pizza! But I love cacio e pepe, pasta tossed with creamy Pecorino Romano and lots of fresh-cracked pepper. I love it so much, when I was in Rome, I had it twice. In the same day.

Yep. So you know I really love it. And while I don’t eat pasta very often, I do eat Pecorino Romano quite a bit – it’s in my favorite Broccolo Romanesco, Roman Cauliflower with Pasta Recipe which I often make sans-pasta and focus on the veggies (are you seeing a pattern here?) In my post, How Italy has changed my diet in 7 years, I talk about the concept of Raw cheese vs. melted cheese, and how natural (full-fat) cheese is better than lots of that low or non-fat, melty cheese which becomes more of a condiment than enjoying its particular flavor. Pecorino Romano and Gorgonzola are frequent guests in my kitchen – you only need a little to make a big impact!

Now let me be clear: I’m not trying to substitute your love of pasta with this dish. But it definitely gives those tired zucchini coins a new prospect on life, and for me, it’s almost as good as the real thing. And it’s very, very comforting. I get a huge serving of veggies with a little bit of love on top.

What do you put Pecorino Romano on? 

Zucchine al Cacio e Pepe, Zucchini “Pasta” with Pecorino Cheese and Pepper Recipe

Note: Depending on how much you like zucchine, a pound will probably only serve 2-3 people. 

1/2 kilo or 1 pound Zucchine / courgette
2 cloves garlic, smashed and pieced
1-2 tablespoons (or glugs) Olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
Pecorino Romano
Black peppercorns (fresh)

  1. Wash zucchine and cut off both ends. With a julienne peeler, peel all the zucchine. Set aside. (No peeler? How to julienne vegetables.
  2. In a large frying pan (with lid!), pour in the olive oil and turn on to medium-high heat. Add the garlic cloves and saute for a few minutes. Add chopped onion and saute until they turn translucent (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add julienned zucchine and mix to coat in olive oil and distribute onions and garlic. Cover pan with a lid (making sure any airholes are set to close) and cook covered for several minutes.
  4. Stir gently, and cover for a few more minutes. Zucchine will begin to lose water and condense down. Remove lid and continue to cook for several minutes until the “al dente” firmness of the zucchine is your desired consistency. Be careful not to overcook as you want the zucchine to retain the pasta-like consistency rather than mush down.
  5. Grate Pecorino Romano directly into pan and mix thoroughly with cracked black pepper, or plate each serving and grate cheese and grind pepper directly onto plate.
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  1. says

    A lovely post, and I will be checking the better markets here in Seville to see who carries Pecorino Romano. I will be visiting Genoa and the Lake Cuomo area, and was wondering if you know of any special foods I should try while there. I understand Genoa is famous for its pesto, but other than that I haven’t a clue. Thanks for any suggestions you might offer.

    Karen McCann

    • Ms. Adventures in Italy says

      @Karen – the focaccia in Genoa is also great – see if you can find it stuffed with fresh cheese. So GOOD.

  2. says

    I snapped this open as soon as I saw Pecorino Romano and comfort in the same zone. Oh how I am with you! And especially the veggie dishes almost sans pasta. This is where we are headed too. In this house we use pecorino instead of grana all year round, and I put shavings of it in steamy polenta. Must go eat!!

  3. Thomas Spero says

    I love Pecorino Romano also. I always put it on my vegetable soup which was the best while I was in Italy.
    Sounds good with the zucchini and polenta too.

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