Recipe: Savory Cacio e Pepe Cookies

Recipe: Savory Cacio e Pepe Cookies

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Hali Bey Ramdene
Mar 16, 2016
(Image credit: Jenny Huang)

Of all the reasons cacio e pepe — a Roman pasta made with black pepper, Pecorino Romano cheese, and olive oil or butter — has skyrocketed back into the limelight, we're willing to wager its simplicity is the key.

Made with just three ingredients, the pasta has inspired everything from roasted potatoes to these savory cookies infused with Parmesan and flecked with black pepper. Now, they won't replace a creamy bowl of pasta, but next to a glass of red wine, they'll surely give you the same nutty, peppery bite. Add them to a cheeseboard, along with ribbons of salty prosciutto and fig jam, and wait for the inevitable praise.

Tester's Notes

Based on some feedback from users, we've retested and updated this recipe to include some butter and use a food processor to achieve the perfect sandy, melt-in-your-mouth texture. Pecorino Romano is the traditional cheese for cacio e pepe, but feel free to also make these with Parmesan, they'll still be delicious. These little cookies are perfect for having with a glass of wine during cocktail hour!

- Christine, October 2017

Savory Cacio e Pepe Cookies

Makes about 40 small cookies

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, plus more for sprinkling
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
Flaky salt, such as Maldon, for sprinkling

Place the oil and pepper in a small bowl and stir to combine; set aside.

Place the flour, cheese, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse a few times to combine. Scatter the butter cubes over the flour mixture and pulse until the butter is cut into small pieces no larger than a pea, about 6 (1-second) pulses. Drizzle in the oil mixture and pulse just until the dough starts to form moist clumps, about 20 (1-second) pulses.

Divide the dough into 2 even portions (about 8 ounces each) and place each on a sheet of plastic wrap. Form each portion into a rectangular log about 7-inches long and 1-inch high. Wrap tightly in the plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or overnight.

Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Unwrap the logs and cut crosswise into 1/3-inch thick slabs. Place on the baking sheets, spacing them at least 1-inch apart. Brush with a thin layer of olive oil, then sprinkle with more pepper, cheese, and flaky salt if desired.

Bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet from front to back and between racks and bake until the cookies are set (they will not brown very much), about 5 minutes more. Let cool on the baking sheets at least 10 minutes before serving. Cool completely before storing in airtight containers.

Recipe Notes

  • Make ahead: The dough can be shaped into logs and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator if frozen before slicing and baking.
  • Storage: The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
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