Chances are good, if you’re a Tourist in Rome, you’re going to spend some time checking out the Colosseum, the Forum, and a rather beautiful building shaped like a Wedding Cake. Chances are also good, you’re going to work up an appetite.
When in Rome… order Cacio e Pepe. Tips on how to pronounce Cacio e Pepe properly, plus my personal favorite spot to indulge in Cacio e Pepe like a local in Rome.
Cacio e Pepe Proper Pronunciation
Cacio e Pepe is pronounced phonetically as [kaˈtʃo e ˈpeːpe]. If you’re anything like me, these little phonetic guides are like alphabet soup. I prefer hearing rather than reading for pronunciation. Here’s a quick video I found to help.
If you’re learning Italian like I am or just want to make sure you sound good when you order pasta in Italy, proper Orecchiette pronunciation is another pasta pronunciation that you might want to check into.
What Cacio e Pepe Is and What Cacio Pepe Translates into in English
Cacio e Pepe is a modern Roman pasta dish. Cacio e Pepe translates simply enough to cheese and pepper, so guessing what’s in the dish is a bit of a no-brainer. Here’s the hitch though, what makes Cacio e Pepe so special is the preparation. You know those giant wheels of Pecorino and Parmesan cheese Italians are famous for? With Cacio e Pepe pasta, those wheels are crucial not for grating, but for swirling.
Imagine a giant wheel of Pecorino cheese with a heaping mount of pasta melting down the middle of it. Then imagine a good helping of freshly cracked black pepper being added before that mound of pasta is stirred until a swirled nest of perfectly cheesy pasta of lifted out. That’s Cacio e Pepe. Just pasta, cheese, and pepper and it’s mouthwateringly good.
How to Make Cacio e Pepe at Home
Now, not all of us can afford (or fit) a giant wheel of Pecorino into our kitchens. So how to can you make Cacio e Pepe at home? Start by watching an Italian Chef! This video is in Italian, which is great for my Italian lessons. Thankfully though, you don’t have to speak Italian to follow along!
Where to Eat Cacio e Pepe in Rome
Luckily, there is a restaurant just 15 minutes walk from the heart of the Tourist Buzz, that Romans recommend. Bello had fond memories of the food from La Salumeria Roscioli while he lived in Rome nearly 10 years ago. When we arrived I could instantly see why.
It’s easy to miss, the door being inconspicuously labeled, and what appears to be a local Roman deli counter immediately inside the door. We actually walked right by it ourselves despite knowing what we were looking for. Stepping back and opening that door, represented my favorite dining experience in Rome.
Once inside, to the left is a Deli Counter manned by four handsome young Romans who smile quickly before returning to their preparations of world-class meats, cheeses, and charcuterie. To the right, round Bistro-style tables sit snug against the wall, decked out with young attractive Italian couples.
Walking back just a few more steps reveals a curved bar on the left and shelves of decedent oils, vinegar, and jars of various other tasty treats to the right. True to form, Bello and I opted for the bar over a table in the back.
This was our final meal in Rome and I had one thing on my mind Cacio e Pepe. I could not leave without indulging in this classic Roman Pasta.
At La Salumeria Roscioli there were several things that made me absolutely fall in love with our dining experience. First, we and were treated by staff with the kindness usually reserved for locals, who happened to be sitting right beside us, engaging in friendly banter. Second, the wine list was strong, affordable, and included great local options. We ordered up our perfectly lovely bottle of Olevano Romano Cesanese Superiore ‘Silene’ ‘14, Damiano Ciolli for the grand total of 20€.
Third, almost as quickly as our wine was opened, fresh fluffy light as air Ricotta and some serious and I mean seriously good, house-made bread magically arrived… on the house. I know! I could have stopped here but,
it just kept getting better. On to the food we ordered! Fourth, a Charcuterie and Cheese plate that left us beyond satisfied with traditional local preparations and a few new twists like Mortadella with Truffle which is sinfully good and…
Lardo so tasty bad you need to head to the Vatican and confess after eating it all!
Best yet, the fifth reason I fell in love with La Salumeria Roscioli, the Cacio e Pepe. So perfectly simple, so close your eyes and taste it good, the Gods must have dined on this. Umami meets a slightly salty, flavor focus on high-quality Pecorino Romano cheese, with a sharp pleasing black pepper bite. Roman God was it good.
That was it, I was convinced this was my favorite experience in all of Rome. What can I say I’m a foodie that loves to travel, not a Historian.
Then, the I swear to you, Barry White started singing and I saw this. There’s nothin’ wrong with me, lovin’ you. Giving yourself to me could never be wrong if the chocolate is melty-gooey!
Yeah, there it was, the unexpected seventh reason I recommend taking the few minutes to walk away from the Wedding Cake building to find La Salumeria Roscioli, free Chocolate Dessert!