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Giada De Laurentiis’s Cacio e Pepe Pizza Has an Ingredient You Would Never Imagine

Did anyone else binge-watch Bobby and Giada in Italy on Discovery+ over the last week, and now can’t stop dreaming of all of the delicious food they ate? From Giada’s favorite shakerato coffee sipped at a cobblestone-fronted cafe to her simple but delicious mortadella sandwich, we basically want to make and devour everything we saw on the show. But perhaps the most delicious item of all was a cacio e pepe pizza that De Laurentiis and Flay enjoyed at Sforno, a pizzeria in Rome. We thought we’d have to wait until post-Covid times before we could travel to Italy to get a taste of this cheesy delight, but De Laurentiis has saved us the trouble, and just shared the recipe for cacio e pepe pizza on her website, including the secret ingredient and technique that makes the whole thing work. We know what we’re making for dinner this weekend!

Cacio e pepe pasta is made with freshly cracked black pepper and tons of Pecorino cheese. But the thing that really makes this deceptively simple dish come together is the addition of starchy pasta cooking water, which emulsifies the cheese and creates a creamy sauce.

De Laurentiis and Flay learned a secret technique from Chef Stefano Callegari that replicates the same creaminess on pizza, and all it takes is something we all have in our freezers – ice cubes!

Just as she learned from Chef Callegari, De Laurentiis’ recipe has you stretch your pizza dough into an oval, then cover it in crushed ice before popping it into the oven. As the pizza cooks, the crushed ice melts into the pizza dough, creating a starchy slurry.

When the pizza crust is cooked to a golden-brown, it’s removed from the oven, then topped with a mound of freshly grated Pecorino Romano, Parmesan, and cracked black pepper. The cheese melts into the starchy water in the center of the pizza dough to create a creamy, cheesy sauce, leaving you with a pizza that tastes just like the famous cacio e pepe pasta dish. A drizzle of olive oil on top makes it even better!

We love a good pizza margherita as much as anyone, but we think our next pizza night will definitely feature this Roman cacio e pepe pizza as the star dish instead.

Before you go, check out our gallery below:

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