Cacio e Pepe is one of the simple pleasures in life that is oh-so satisfying and delicious. It also just happens to be one of my favorite foods on planet earth. Literally meaning “cheese and pepper” the dish tastes likes it’s loaded with butter and cream and it’s simply not. This dish focuses all on technique and getting it just right is actually quite an art, even though the ingredient list might be deceiving. It takes pan sauce making precision to get it just right.
So yeah, even though I’ve mastered my own Cacio e Pepe at home, it’s just really hard to write out a recipe and ensure it turns out perfect in everyone’s kitchen… which makes this recipe developer very frustrated. So while I still work on writing the perfect, foolproof recipe I thought of a rather genius idea… this one pot Israeli couscous cacio e pepe. It’s pretty epic, too.
I really enjoy Isreali couscous, or pearl couscous, for it’s soft slightly chewy texture. Because it is made from wheat flour, it is not a gluten-free food; however, it is vegetarian and vegan. Israeli couscous also has a low glycemic index, making it a wholesome and high-fiber food. When it is cooked down in water, the starch from the couscous really adds a nice, creamy texture to the pot– making it the perfect candidate for a faux cacio e pepe, and this is the exact inspiration for this dish.
By simply stirring in the cheese and pepper with this starchy water combination, the end result mimics the flavors of a classic cacio e pepe and makes it fool proof!
So here, you can either keep it simple– like cacio e pepe is designed to be– and serve it alone or hey, you do you! Serve alongside grilled steaks for a fancy date night or even top with some seared shrimp or scallops for a nice touch of seafood. You really can’t go wrong!
One Pot Cacio e Pepe Isreali Couscous
- 1.5 cups Israeli couscous, uncooked
- 3 cups water
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper plus more for serving
- 1/3 cup freshly grated pecorino, plus more for serving parmesiano reggiano is fine
- 1 tsp parsley, finely chopped
For the Israeli Couscous
- In a medium pot over high heat, add the Israeli couscous and water. Bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a light simmer. Let cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until liquid has absorbed and couscous is tender, about 10 minutes.
- Once the liquid is absorbed and couscous is tender, remove from heat. Season with salt and black pepper. Stir in the pecorino and mix until combined.
- Top with 3 turns of freshly cracked black pepper, a sprinkle of freshly grated pecorino and parsley.
- Serve and enjoy!