Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman
What I love about meeting other chefs is how much you can learn from each other – and that’s how this recipe came to be. When I was filming Bobby and Giada in Italy, I took Bobby to one of my favorite pizzerias in the movie district of Rome. The restaurant is called Sforno, and it’s headed by Chef Stefano Callegari – and this recipe is inspired by his genius method of making Cacio E Pepe Pizza.
To make a successful cacio e pepe pasta, pasta water is an imperative ingredient – so how do you emulate that on a pizza? Chef Stefano has a crazy way of making it happen, and it’s absolutely genius. He places crushed ice cubes on the raw pizza dough, and when it cooks, it creates a starchy water in the center of the pizza… just like pasta water!
As soon as the pizza dough cooks, he sprinkles it heavily with freshly grated Pecorino and black pepper. The result is layers of different cheesy consistencies: you have the crispy pizza dough, a creamy velvety cheese layer, and the freshly grated cheese on top. I love this so much because in my experience, Pecorino tends to separate and get bitter when it’s cooked in a hot oven – so this is an amazing way to bypass that and have all the flavors and textures of cacio e pepe.
In my version, I use a blend of Parmesan and Pecorino – but the method is the same. I give all credit to Chef Stefano for this one!
Cacio E Pepe Pizza
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Place a baking sheet in the oven to preheat while you assemble the pizza.
- In a small bowl, mix the Pecorino Romano, Parmesan and freshly cracked black pepper. Set aside.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll and stretch out the pizza dough into an 11-by-16-inch oval. Remove the hot baking sheet from the oven. Carefully transfer the dough to the preheated baking sheet. Sprinkle the crushed ice evenly around the pizza dough, leaving an inch empty around the crust.
- Bake the pizza in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the crust appears golden brown and fully cooked.
- Remove the pizza from the oven, and immediately sprinkle the cheese mixture over the dough, leaving about half an inch empty around the crust. Drizzle with olive oil and eat immediately