July 27, 2022

Cacio e Pepe Gnocchi

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
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This creamy cacio e pepe gnocchi recipe is the perfect go to dish for any night of the week! With only six essential ingredients and only 20 minutes of your time, this recipe will become a staple at your dinner table!

cacio e pepe gnocchi in a pan with basil and prosciutto.

I had family visiting this weekend and randomly decided that I'd make some cacio e pepe. Melted some butter in a pan, added flour, black pepper, salt, and parmesan cheese (I didn't have pecorino romano cheese on hand). Then, I added some freshly diced garlic to the sauce and prosciutto and fresh basil on top - it was SO good. I posted it to my instagram stories and SO many people asked me to post the recipe. So, here we are.

Of course I made this recipe in my favorite Calphalon pans, they're the best! Easy clean up, impeccable nonstick coating, and sleek and stylish (as always) - oh and dishwasher safe? C'mon, it's a no brainer! If you don't have these pans, make sure to grab a set ASAP!

Delicious Italian-Inspired Dish!

Cacio e pepe is a classic Italian dish that literally translates to "cheese and pepper". It typically consists of pretty simple ingredients but has so much flavor. With our upcoming trip to Italy in the Fall, I am SO excited to try this dish in Italy with homemade pasta (I don't make my own pasta, although I'd love to take a pasta making class on the trip).

Anyway, this cacio e pepe gnocchi dish is not the classic Italian pasta dish, but is absolutely inspired by it. It's creamy, subtly cheesy, and the salt, pepper, basil, and garlic flavors all come together so beautifully. In addition, this recipe is SO easy to make and can easily come together in under 30 minutes. Let's talk about what you'll need and how to make it!

gnocchi recipe in a bowl garnished with fresh basil.

What is cacio e pepe?

Cacio e Pepe is a Roman dish that consists of pecorino cheese, milk, butter, flour, and salt and pepper. Cacio e pepe literally translates to "cheese and pepper" and is such a delicious dish with only a few simple ingredients.

This cacio e pepe gnocchi is not a traditional cacio e pepe but is absolutely inspired by the flavorful dish!

Ingredients

Gnocchi: you can use cauliflower gnocchi, homemade gnocchi, potato gnocchi etc.

Butter: what's a recipe without butter? The butter is melted to start making the cacio e pepe sauce.

All-purpose Flour: we use flour as a thickening agent. After the butter is melted, add flour to create a paste which is the basis of the sauce.

Milk: I used whole milk but you can use whatever milk suits your diet.

Pecorino Cheese: pecorino is the traditional cheese used for this recipe. However, it can be difficult to find, so you can use parmesan as a close swap. I recommend using freshly grated cheese.

Salt and Pepper: I love that you only need a little salt and pepper as the star of this dish. the flavors are so simple together but just so darn good!

Garlic: cacio e pepe does not traditionally include garlic, but I like adding it for extra flavor.

Basil: fresh basil is best!

Reserved Pasta Water: reserving the water (It's not technically pasta water because gnocchi isn't pasta, but you know what I mean!) helps to thin out the sauce and add flavor to the sauce in the process. When adding pasta water to the sauce, it creates an emulsion that adds silky richness to the sauce. So save that water!

Prosciutto: this is optional but such a good addition!

Olive oil: this is to crisp up the gnocchi in a large frying pan after cooking the pasta. We'll talk more about this in the "how to make cacio e pepe gnocchi" section next.

finished cacio e pepe gnocchi in a pan with prosciutto and fresh basil.

How to make Cacio e Pepe Gnocchi

  • Boil gnocchi in a large pot of salted water according to package instructions.
  • In a large frying pan, melt butter over low heat. Once melted, add flour and whisk together until a paste forms. Then slowly add in the milk, salt, and pepper and cook for 5-8 minutes, whisking constantly.
  • Add cheese and garlic and remove from heat.
  • Reserve a cup of pasta water. Add about ¼-1/2 cup of reserved water to the sauce to start and whisk together slowly until water is incorporated. Add more if you prefer a thinner sauce.
  • Add gnocchi and toss in the sauce. Then place in a serving dish and top with basil and prosciutto.
cacio e pepe gnocchi on a plate with a spoon.

What to eat with Gnocchi Cacio e Pepe

I recommend serving this dish with a mixed salad or soup. Also, garlic bread is ideal with this dish for the perfect pairing!

If you'd like drink recommendations, I high recommend try this recipe with my Bourbon Smash or Blackberry Mojito!

Tips

  • Keep the heat low on this dish as if can burn quickly. Be patient as the sauce comes together.
  • Add the milk and cheese to the sauce very slowly so that the sauce doesn't clump together. Also, stir the sauce constantly while cooking for a smooth, silky, rich sauce.
  • Use freshly grated cheese for the best flavor.

This blog post and recipe for cacio e pepe gnocchi was made in partnership with Calphalon! My thoughts and opinions are genuine always. Thanks for your continued support!

cacio e pepe in a pan on top of a brown plate.

FAQs

What does cooking water do in pasta sauce?

When adding pasta water to the sauce, it creates an emulsion that adds silky richness to the sauce. So save that water!

What is gnocchi?

Gnocchi is a type of dumpling that has potatoes. Typically, it's a dough made with flour, potatoes, eggs, and salt and cut into inch thick pieces. It's texture is chewy.

What is the difference between gnocchi and pasta?

Gnocchi is a dumpling and is made with potatoes while pasta is simply made with flour and water. In fact, Gnocchi is not considered pasta at all.

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Let's stay connected on social media and continue to cook together! Also, if you decide to make this recipe, please leave a star rating on the recipe card and leave a comment below! Tag @BritneyBreaksBread on Instagram and hashtag #britneybreaksbread so I can see your creations! I hope that you love this recipe as much as we do!

cacio e pepe gnocchi on a plate with a spoon.

Cacio e Pepe Gnocchi

This creamy cacio e pepe gnocchi recipe is the perfect go to dish for any night of the week! Only 6 ingredients and 20 minutes to make!
Serving: 4
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Calories: 352kcal

Equipment

  • Skillet

Ingredients

  • 17.5 oz Gnocchi (one package)
  • 2 tbsps Salted Butter
  • 2 tsps Black Pepper
  • 2 tbsps All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Whole Milk
  • ½ cup Pecorino Cheese (or Parmesan cheese), freshly grated
  • 4 cloves Garlic , diced finely
  • ¼ cup Reserved Water from Gnocchi
  • Salt
  • 4-5 slices Prosciutto , optional
  • Fresh Basil , optional

Directions

  • Cook gnocchi according to package instructions and save ¼ cup of the water.
  • Melt butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Then add pepper and flour. Mix together until mixture thickens and a paste forms, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Slowly pour in milk, stirring constantly. Allow sauce to cook in the pan for 5-8 minutes, until it thickens. Remove from heat and add pecorino cheese and garlic. Add reserved water to the sauce and stir constantly until the sauce is fully incorporated.
  • Add gnocchi and garnish with prosciutto and fresh basil.

Notes

Tips
  • Keep the heat low on this dish as if can burn quickly. Be patient as the sauce comes together.
  • Add the milk and cheese to the sauce very slowly so that the sauce doesn't clump together. Also, stir the sauce constantly while cooking for a smooth, silky, rich sauce.
  • Use freshly grated cheese for the best flavor.

Nutrition

Calories: 352kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 640mg | Potassium: 121mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 331IU | Calcium: 240mg | Iron: 5mg
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian, Italian Inspired

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