Cacio e pepe is my favorite dish. Ever. I know, I know. It’s pasta with pepper and cheese. Simple. Kid food. But when done right, it is absolutely amazing. I’ve been trying to perfect cacio e pepe since I first ate it in Rome nearly four years ago. When I saw this recipe for cacio e pepe with Brussels sprouts, I had to give it a try.
This recipe called for mostly parmesan rather than pecorino, which I have traditionally seen used instead of cacio in US recipes. I promptly reversed the proportions mostly because I can’t read. Let’s be honest. I probably would have done it anyway. Another difference in this recipe is that the pepper was not toasted at the beginning but added at the end to the cooked Brussels sprouts. This gave the finished dish less of a nutty, peppery flavor than previous versions that I have made. I think I would reverse the order on this next time by toasting the pepper, then melting the butter and cooking the Brussels sprouts.
I must have used too many Brussels sprouts because I did not have enough butter to coat the veggies and so I added a little olive oil. I also had to add quite a bit of the pasta water to the combined dish so that the pasta wasn’t dry. Still, I didn’t find this dish to have a creamy consistency like others that I have made. I’ll have to think about why that is. Will let you know when I figure it out.
This pasta dish was really good, despite not tasting like the cacio e pepe that I’ve come to love. The added bonus is that my kids asked for vegetables because they didn’t realize that they were eating Brussels sprouts. That’s a pretty good deal.