Cacio e Pepe is a traditional Italian dish. It simply translates to “cheese and pepper.”
If you are a spaghetti lover, then we are sure you will fall in love with this comfort food.
All you need are three ingredients – spaghetti, cheese, and black pepper.
Cook the spaghetti in a pan, and after it is cooked, shift it to a pan where the cheese is being made into a sauce and mix them together.
Season with salt and freshly ground pepper before serving.
Since Cacio e Pepe has a creamy, spicy, salty and sharp taste, it can be paired with other side dishes to help elevate and balance the meal.
So, what do we serve with it, you ask? Continue reading to find out what to serve with Cacio e Pepe!
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes with Cacio e Pepe?
Are you being a boring foodie and just eating the dishes as they come?
We suggest you step out of your comfort zone and experience new ways to enhance the flavors of the foods that you eat!
Likewise, Cacio e Pepe is delicious by itself, we know that too!
But it can often be improved with side dishes. The purpose of a side dish is to assist Cacio e Pepe in enhancing its flavors.
Additionally, you can also serve healthy side dishes with Cacio e Pepe in order to make up for the nutrients and vitamins that are usually missing in the pasta dish.
Serving the right kind of side dish with Cacio e Pepe can help balance out your meal, while bringing a nice variation to your dinner table!
What to Serve with Cacio e Pepe? 7 BEST Side Dishes
Be a boring foodie and just eat the dishes as they come? We strongly challenge you to get out of your comfort zone and experience new ways to enhance the flavors of the foods that you eat.
This is the same case with Cacio e Pepe.
Its flavors and taste can go to another level with the addition of some side dishes.
You should remember that the side dishes should not overpower the essence of the main dish.
1 – Garlic Bread with Butter
An Italian dish cannot be complete without the presence of this food item!
Buttery garlic bread is a staple in Italian cuisine and blends nicely with Cacio e Pepe.
Take some slices of garlic bread and serve it alongside your favorite Cacio e Pepe.
The contrast in textures between the bread and Cacio e Pepe complements well.
You can also use the bread to soak up the sauce. As you take a bite of that soaked bread, it will release a mixture of all those garlicky-buttery and cheesy-peppery flavors!
2 – Roasted Cauliflower with Parmesan Cheese
Let’s get a little bit of crunch for our next side dish.
Roasted cauliflower with parmesan cheese is a very light and healthy option to serve with Cacio e Pepe.
Along with the chewy and creamy pasta, the crunchiness of the roasted cauliflower is just the perfect combination of texture and flavors.
The melted parmesan cheese on top of the roasted cauliflower is also very rich in calcium and protein.
3 – Lightly Fried Zucchini
Fried zucchini and parmesan cheese are commonly eaten as a side dish with many foods.
It is a very light dish and has a subtle taste, with a mild crunch to the bite.
This is a beautiful recipe to combine with Cacio e Pepe.
It adds a sweet and salty flavor to the entrée, with a twist of tang coming from the parmesan cheese too!
4 – Baked Eggplant
Baked eggplants make lovely side dishes with their creamy textures and delicious flavors.
Cut the eggplants into two parts or four parts according to your choice.
Toss them in a sheet with a sprinkle of salt and shove them inside the oven.
After taking it out, drizzle with some vinegar, olive oil, and garnish with fresh basil leaves.
The baked eggplants will melt in your mouth and provide a mild, tender sweetness to Cacio e Pepe, helping enhance its flavors!
5 – Pot Meatballs
Italian meatballs are such an iconic food around the world.
There are different versions of meatballs worldwide, but Italian meatballs stand out because of their unique ingredients.
Italian meatballs are made with ground beef and sausage.
You can either fry or bake the meatballs with garlic, dried basil, and grated parmesan cheese.
These meatballs combine with Cacio e Pepe to produce the best mixture of flavors in your mouth.
Just the thought of the creamy, salty flavors of Cacio e Pepe along with the juicy, garlicky taste of the meatballs, is mouth-watering.
6 – Stuffed Mushrooms
You can eat this dish by adding it to Cacio e Pepe or by serving it as a side dish.
It complements the main dish to perfection as a vegetable side dish.
You can prepare this dish with just a few ingredients.
Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, and green onions with some seasoning are all there is to it.
After this process, bake it for a quarter of an hour.
The stuffed mushrooms are now ready to be devoured along with Cacio e Pepe.
7 – Bruschetta
Another fantastic side dish for Cacio e Pepe is Bruschetta. It is a light and refreshing side snack.
It consists of French bread, garlic, basil leaves, red pepper, tomatoes, olive oil, and vinegar.
The bread is cut into slices, and the toppings are added on the top with a drizzle of olive oil and vinegar at the end.
Bruschetta elevates Cacio e Pepe by giving it fresh flavors from the pepper and tomatoes and providing a crispy texture missing from the main entrée.
Cacio e Pepe is a simple dish with minimal ingredients, but like most simple dishes, it is also difficult to prepare if the proper recipe and process are not followed.
This tremendous Italian classic is a beautiful dish to pair with other side dishes.
Serving a suitable dish is paramount to having a good experience with your meal.
If you choose the wrong side dish, it will only downgrade the flavors of your Cacio e Pepe.
You can try out the side dishes that we’ve gathered for you to go along with Cacio e Pepe.
Rest assured, you won’t regret one bit regardless of which side dish you pick from our list!
In fact, you may even find yourself come back to our recommendations time and again.