Cacio e Pepe Broccoli

updated Oct 9, 2020
Cacio e Pepe Broccoli

The beloved pasta meets roasted broccoli florets in this place, feel-good side dish.


Prep5 minutes

Cook21 minutes to 26 minutes

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Credit: Photo: Justin Bridges; Food Styling: Tyna Hoang

A surefire way to get everyone at the dinner table to eat their vegetables? Add cheese, of course. Here, roasted broccoli is showered with salty Pecorino and finished off with spicy black pepper in a playful twist on the classic Roman pasta dish. It’s a dead-simple way to dress up the tried-and-true side, and I guarantee it will be such a hit that it will quickly become a back-pocket side dish for weeknights to come.

Credit: Photo: Justin Bridges | Food Stylist: Tyna Hoang

A Fast and Fancy Way to Dress Up Roasted Broccoli

Cacio e pepe is made with a mix of Pecorino Romano cheese, which is salty and a bit funky (in a good way), and freshly cracked black pepper, which lends earthy, pungent heat. Here, these two ingredients are sprinkled over roasted broccoli florets once they’re tender, and then the whole thing is tossed under the broiler for a minute or two to let the cheese soften slightly. Any cheese that lands on the sheet pan rather than the florets will become golden-brown and chip-like under the broiler, which is a delicious bonus.

If you only have Parmesan cheese on hand and don’t want to make a trip to the store, feel free to use it in place of the Pecorino. While it won’t lend quite the same tangy flavor, it will still add a salty kick.

Cacio e Pepe Broccoli

The beloved pasta meets roasted broccoli florets in this place, feel-good side dish.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 21 minutes to 26 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 1 pound


  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 ounce

    Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated (about 1/2 firmly packed cup grated on a Microplane, or 1/3 cup store-bought)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    coarsely ground black pepper


  1. Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven to 425°F.

  2. Trim 1/2-inch off the woody, dried-out bottom of the stems of 1 pound broccoli and discard. Cut the florets into bite-sized pieces and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Cut the stems into bite-sized pieces and add to the baking sheet.

  3. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and toss to coat. Spread out in an even layer. Roast on the lower rack, tossing halfway through, until tender and caramelized, 20 to 25 minutes. Meanwhile, finely grate 1 ounce Pecorino Romano cheese (about 1/2 packed cup, or 1/3 cup store-bought grated) and place it in a small bowl. Coarsely grind enough black pepper to get 1 1/2 teaspoons, add it to the bowl, and mix with a fork to combine.

  4. Remove the roasted broccoli from the oven and turn the broiler on to high. Sprinkle the cheese and pepper mixture evenly over the broccoli. Broil on the upper rack until the cheese melts and turns light-golden brown, about 1 minute.

Recipe Notes

Parmesan Variation: If you don't have Pecorino Romano cheese on hand or can't find it, an equal amount of Parmesan cheese can be used instead.

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.