Cacio e pepe is a classic Italian pasta sauce made from grated pecorino romano cheese, grated parmigiano reggiano cheese and loads of black pepper! This version adds roasted cauliflower for a healthy seasonal twist.
roasted cauliflower cacio e pepe

You guys! We didn’t order takeout EVERY night last week! (::cue downcast shameful eyes::)

Apparently in the medical school world, that’s considered a win.

I’ll take it.


My goal for this week is to get that takeout # down to a big fat ZERO, but I have to admit that when you’re on your feet almost all day and get home at 6pm and your couch looks so.darn.comfy…it is HARD! All of you working folk – I finally understand. Thank you for putting up with my 30 step recipes all this time. <3<3

I’ve taken preventative measures this week, though, arming myself with a menu plan full of less than 30 minutes meals and a fridge full of veggies (and cheese!) that will (hopefully) keep me excited about eating and cooking. Kicking it off is this roasted cauliflower cacio e pepe, which combines the most simple of simple Italian pasta dishes with roasted cauliflower. With a sauce of cheese on cheese (YES!!) and a big black pepper kick, this comes together in as much time as it takes to boil water and cook pasta. So no time at all. I like the sound of that.


I had honestly never had this dish until the.boy and I went to Italy this past summer, but to say I haven’t gotten it out of my mind since then is an understatement. Its beauty is in its simplicity, though, so making sure you get some real deal pecorino and parmigiano cheese is KEY. Otherwise, this will pretty much taste like garbage…and we just can’t stand for that.

Roasted Cauliflower Cacio e Pepe
Cacio e pepe is a classic Italian pasta sauce made from grated pecorino romano cheese, grated parmigiano reggiano cheese and loads of black pepper! This version adds roasted cauliflower for a healthy seasonal twist.
Yield: 4 servings
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1½ cups grated pecorino romano
  • 1 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb pasta
  1. Heat oven to 450F.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together the olive oil and cauliflower florets until well combined. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until tender and starting to brown.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a large bowl, combine the pecorino romano, parmigiano reggiano, and freshly ground black pepper. Mash with just enough cold water to make a thick paste. Spread the paste evenly in the bowl.
  4. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving a cup of the cooking water. Pour the pasta into the bowl with the cheese. Stir vigorously to coat the pasta, adding a bit of the pasta cooking water to thin the sauce if necessary. Add the cauliflower to the bowl and toss to coat. Serve topped with more black pepper and additional pecorino.
Adapted from The New York Times
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 bowl


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53 Responses to Roasted Cauliflower Cacio e Pepe

  1. Zainab says:

    I can see how this will excite me after a long day!!! All the cheese please 🙂

  2. Yes please! This looks so delicious.

  3. Beth says:

    Just when I thought your blog couldn’t get any better … you’ve promised me some 30-minute meals! Can’t wait to see them.

  4. I don’t blame you for the lack of cooking after work, there is no way I’d do any! My key to surviving week’s like that (or most weeks, in general) is Sunday cooking and lots of re-heating… This looks super delicious, though!

  5. I have FAITH that you will complete your goal of getting that takeout down to zero girl! YOU CAN DO IT!
    And this roasted cauliflower goodness? I can’t pronounce it, but I need it in my face ASAP! Pinned!

  6. I adore cheesy peppery sauce. Your pasta looks very comforting and flavoursome, Joanne.

  7. Cauliflower is always a winner for me – I love it and this looks delicious!

  8. Good luck on the wards. I used to really appreciate the lunch rounds as a medical student.. Hopefully, they feed you a bit, too. Otherwise, looking forward to hearing about your quickie meals.

  9. Oh man, the simplicity of this dish is so appealing – as well as the flavors, obvi! A bowl full of comfort for a cool fall evening.
    Can’t wait to hear all about your 30 minute meals this week. That’s what we strive for on weeknights!

  10. Julia says:

    The cheese…the cauliflower…bravo, m’dear! I love how quickly this dish comes together and how comforting it looks to my carb-craving face.!

  11. Cheese on Cheese with pasta and cauliflower? Winning! LOVE the simplicity and the deliciousness of this dish! PERFECTION, my dear! Pinned! Cheers!

  12. Heath says:

    This looks like the perfect hot meal to curl up with after a long day!

  13. CakePants says:

    I adore cacio e pepe but it has always been a little problematic for me that it’s not at all a balanced dish. I love the idea of adding roasted cauliflower to add some veggies! I definitely feel you on the wanting to order takeout business…good luck with your goal this week!

  14. I would not want to cook after a long day at work either. But this, I could totally make time for. It looks so tasty!

  15. I love adding cauliflower to my mac and cheese. . the cheese covers everything adequately and my husband is always fooled. 😛 dude, this roasted cauliflower cacio e pepe is everything!!! Damn!

  16. LOVE the addition of cauliflower to this Italian classic. YUM!

  17. cheri says:

    I could eat this all day long, love this combination……..

  18. Pam says:

    Simple food is my favorite food. This looks comforting, healthy, and delicious.

  19. OMG yesssss this is a FABULOUS idea! MUST try this!

  20. Kate says:

    we had a really great cauliflower soup last week, so now I’m very much in the cauliflower mood.

  21. I’m so tired of being tired. Pretty sure this pasta would pep me up, though – because, duh. And also? Cauliflower!

  22. This is one of my favorite dishes, made even better!!

  23. Christine says:

    Perfect quick hot meal after a long day on your feet. Mmmm, cheese!

  24. 7 ingredients and 4 steps – yes! This is perfect for us crazy working folk! 🙂

  25. This dish looks just like comfort in a bowl! Obsessed- pinning 🙂

  26. Erika says:

    Yes, Please more quick and easy but still delicious recipes for the all the graduate students out here!

  27. debbie says:

    I’m not that big on cauliflower but this looks really looks good.

  28. We heard about this pasta dish, and never made it either -now we can’t get this out of our heads too.
    Great addition with the roasted cauliflower. love it!

  29. I would skip takeout from now until the end of time if I could eat this cacio e pepe every night for dinner.

  30. Reeni says:

    Yes! All the cheese and carbs please with one of my favorite veggies on Earth! Great for curling oup on the couch withI don’t think I had a chance to say CONGRATULATIONS! So proud of you!!

  31. Kelly says:

    Easy meals like this are a lifesaver for those long days spent on your feet! This looks perfect! Love the roasted cauliflower in here!

  32. easypeasy says:

    Gotta love pasta and cheese! Especially cheese! LoL

  33. Sues says:

    Definitely bookmarking (or you know, pinning) this for later!! My husband thinks he doesn’t like cauliflower, but I think he’s wrong!

  34. Oh god this takes me back! I went to Rome a couple of years ago and basically lived off cacio e pepe! It’s the best combination ever, especially due it’s simplicity and making each ingredient shine. Need to have this again soon – and love the addition of the cauliflower! X

  35. Oh, lovely dish – Joanne – yeah when you are busy keep it simple – I always a great side lifts a meal.

  36. Oh my gosh, I remember when I used to get take out every night during finals week. You’ll definitely get that down to zero, girl. I have faith! Can’t believe this is ready in under 30!

  37. We don’t tend to get take out, but we do end up with some fairly basic meals on those nights I’m home late and frankly can’t be bothered. You’re right though – cooking doesn’t have to take too long if you’re prepared. I’ve never heard of this dish but am sure it beats take away 🙂

  38. Carolyn @ Cabot Cheese says:

    30 minute recipes-so easy and so delicious!~Carolyn @ Cabot

  39. This looks so comforting! And yeah for making dinner. That’s a total win in my book. I’m pretty happy with myself if I eat something more than chips and salsa for dinner. The struggle is real. You are totally rocking it, girl!

  40. You have cauliflower-ized one of my favorite pasta dishes, and since I love and adore cauliflower you are once again MY HERO.

  41. Cheese on cheese on a Tuesday is just ALWAYS a good life plan. 😉 My face needs this goodness!

  42. grace says:

    plopping some cauliflower into this dish is a great idea! yeah, with so few ingredients, their quality becomes extra important!!

  43. What a great weeknight meal! Love this!

  44. Susan says:

    Some days you need an easy dinner and delicious doesn’t hurt! I’d love cuddling up to this after a long day, Joanne!

  45. Roasted cauliflower, pasta, cheese… yes, yes, and yes. One of those truly satisfying meals that you need after a long day at work. That and a giant glass of vino.

  46. I feel ya. After a long week, takeout has become my go too as well. Let’s both try to knock that number down to zero because um hello, cheese sauce and roasted cauliflower sounds a thousand times better than a greasy burger.

  47. Ah yes! I see you knowtthe best ways to keep meals simple and delish!

  48. This sound yummy to me. All that cheese, pasta, and cauliflower sounds like a wonderful dinner.

  49. I’ve never tried this dish, but it sounds and looks really comforting and delicious! Takeout is one of my guilty pleasures after a long day of work! Bookmarking this to try soon!

  50. Lynn says:

    I’m pretty sure if I lived in NYC – I’d be the takeout queen. 🙂 I was astounded how fast food comes to our door when I visited.

    But this looks so good –

  51. No matter how tired I was, it would be worth the energy to make this. Parm and pecorino – oh yeah!!

  52. Johanna GGG says:

    me too – I love complex recipes but have less time for them lately so your simple recipes will be very welcome

  53. Christina says:

    Hmm one of my favorite things to eat!

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