Easy cacio e pepe serving ideas, from chicken cutlets to garlic parmesan breadsticks, and stuffed mushrooms to garlic bread. Discover what to serve with cacio e pepe today.
Cacio e pepe is a simple cheese and pepper pasta dish, native to Rome, Italy. Featuring grated cheese and fresh black pepper served on a bed of tonnarelli spaghetti, this simple but classic Italian pasta dish is comfort food at its finest.
These best cacio e pepper side dish ideas will complete your dinner table, giving you enough options to satisfy everyone’s cravings. Let’s get cooking!
Usually, you would serve cacio e pepe as a main dish. However, suppose you want to add some hearty, meaty deliciousness to the experience. In that case, you can’t go wrong with the classic chicken cutlet. This versatile, batter-fried cut of meat is excellent for everything from filling a sandwich to slathering with tomato sauce and mozzarella for chicken parmesan.
Try This Recipe: These crispy Italian breaded chicken cutlets are leagues beyond the school cafeteria fare you remember! They are made extra crispy and cheesy with homemade breadcrumbs, and grated cheese added directly to the egg mixture. For a different flavor, the recipe recommends frying in extra-virgin olive oil.
Lemon Chicken Orzo
Orzo may look like rice, but it’s a tiny pasta you can cook in a dish similar to chicken and rice. Adding spinach, parmesan cheese, and a lemon cream sauce provides a zesty flavor. It is perfectly suitable as a meal on its own but also goes excellently with cacio e pepe.
Try This Recipe: This lemon chicken orzo is an easy, one-pot meal perfect for weeknights and weekends alike. If you enjoy risotto, this bright, creamy pasta dish will contrast wonderfully with the spice of cacio e pepe. Of course, you can also enjoy this as a main dish on its own.
Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower
Parmesan roasted cauliflower is as classically Italian as cacio e pepe itself. Both have a strong, cheesy flavor, but the subtle, earthy meatiness of the cauliflower provides a nice contrast to the spice of cacio e pepe.
Try This Recipe: This roasted cauliflower recipe adds to the flavor of cheese and cauliflower with caramelized onions and thyme. Try this parmesan roasted cauliflower if you’re craving cacio e pepe this winter and want the ideal vegetable side to pair with it.
Blue Cheese Wedge Salad
Wedge salad consists of one-quarter of a head of iceberg lettuce, which is used as a bowl for various toppings. Blue cheese and bacon are traditional, but you can add anything. A good wedge salad delivers intense flavors with a cool iceberg crunch.
Try This Recipe: This blue cheese wedge salad includes sweet, juicy tomatoes and the mild onion flavor of chives. This salad’s most vital element is the homemade blue cheese dressing. Blue cheese wedge salad delivers a similarly robust and cheesy flavor as cacio e pepe. Still, it offers a fantastic crunch contrasting the latter’s warm softness.
Lemon Pepper Shrimp
If you’ve craved seafood, lemon pepper shrimp adds a zesty contrast to the cheesy, earthy flavor of cacio e pepe. Sauteed shrimp and pasta are a classic combination, from buttery shrimp scampi to creamy alfredo. Cacio e pepe, with its creamy, cheesy flavor, is a perfect candidate for the zesty taste of lemon pepper shrimp.
Try This Recipe: This easy recipe promises to deliver a healthy, delicious, and quick-to-prepare protein that adds a lemony, buttery zing to any meal. It takes 3-5 minutes to cook these shellfish, and you can serve any leftovers with polenta, mashed potatoes, or fried rice.
The flavorful crisp of garlic bread is essential to complete any pasta dinner. You can easily make garlic bread by putting slices of your favorite sandwich loaf in the toaster and covering them with butter and garlic powder. However, you make the best garlic bread with crusty French or Italian bread.
Try This Recipe: We’ve found a recipe that goes above and beyond, combining garlic cloves and powder for a double dose of flavor. For an added bit of Italian flare, this garlic bread recipe adds parmesan cheese. There’s even a garnish of parsley on top. With garlic bread this delicious, you may be tempted to make it the main course!
Garlic Parmesan Breadsticks
Breadsticks are the quintessential Italian side item. You’ve probably had a side order of breadsticks with your pizza or a meal at your Olive Garden. With their herby, buttery flavor and crunchy on the outside and pillowy on the inside texture, these humble miniature bread loaves are a classic for a good reason.
Try This Recipe: When you’ve longed to recreate the Italian restaurant experience, this recipe promises to deliver. The secret is to bake your breadsticks in butter, which removes the need to brush each stick individually and adds a beautiful flavor and a melt-in-your-mouth texture.
You’ve likely had deviled eggs if you’ve ever been to a potluck or family reunion. These delectable hard-boiled eggs, filled with egg yolk blended with mayo and mustard and dusted with cayenne powder, have been a party staple for decades. As a zesty side dish, deviled eggs are more than suitable as a flavor complement to cacio e pepe.
Try This Recipe: The secret to this classic recipe is dijon mustard (for a bit of creamy spice) and a splash of pickle brine. Pickle brine adds the same acidic tang as vinegar but with extra flavor courtesy of dill and sometimes garlic or chili. You can top these deviled eggs with the traditional paprika or pickle relish or get creative with radish slices, chives, or bacon.
Another popular party dish, stuffed mushrooms take advantage of the bowl-like nature of upturned mushrooms to fill it with mixtures of various sorts. These little flavor capsules are fun to pop in your mouth!
Try This Recipe: Cream cheese forms the foundation of this flavorful filling. Worcestershire, parmesan, and garlic powder add robust tastes, and breadcrumbs provide a stylish garnish. These mushrooms provide a fun, delicious side item for cacio e pepe and many dishes besides.
Corn and Tomato Salad
In contrast to the rich, old-world flavor of cacio e pepe, corn and tomato salad is a summery combination of roasted corn, juicy tomatoes, red onion, and herbs firmly placed on the west side of the Atlantic. Whether or not you accompany cacio e pepe with any of the meats on this list, this corn and tomato salad adds a sunshiny complement to the pasta.
Try This Recipe: Described as “sunshine in a bowl,” this simple tomato and corn salad binds pan-roasted corn, juicy tomatoes, sweet red onions, and fresh basil and dill together with seasoned red wine vinaigrette. In addition to providing a refreshing palette cleanser for cacio e pepe, this corn and tomato salad is a welcome companion to barbecue ribs and roasted chicken.
Roasted Peppers & Onion
Roasted peppers and onions are a common topping for sausage sandwiches, pizza, and cheesesteaks, adding the perfect amount of sweetness and texture.
Try This Recipe: This easy roasted peppers and onions recipe is seasoned with a beautiful blend of smoked paprika, oregano, salt, and pepper. The addition of oil provides additional caramelization.