Side dishes are important, but sometimes they can be a bit of a challenge to choose or find a good one. That’s especially true when it comes to cacio e pepe, one of the most popular pasta dishes in the world.
A month ago, I was making cacio e pepe for a dinner party I was hosting, and as always, I wanted to make sure that everything was perfect. So, I decided to ask my friends and family for their favorite cacio e pepe side dish recipes.
And boy, did they deliver! I received so many great recipe ideas that I decided to put together a list of the best cacio e pepe side dishes. In this article, I’ll explain why each side dish is suitable, provide tips on preparing each side dish, and also give examples of the recipes used.
Here are my top picks for cacio e pepe side dishes that are sure to please any crowd, so let’s get down to business.
What to Serve with Cacio e Pepe
- Garlic Bread with Butter
- Stuffed Mushrooms
- Baked Eggplant
- Lightly Fried Zucchini
- Pot Meatballs
- Roasted Cauliflower with Parmesan Cheese
For starters, Bruschetta as a side dish for Cacio e Pepe is the perfect way to elevate this already delicious dish. The classic Italian flavors of garlic, olive oil, and tomato perfectly complement the sharpness of the Pecorino Romano cheese and the creaminess of the pasta.
Likewise, the bruschetta also adds a lovely crunch to the dish, making it even more enjoyable to eat. Plus, it’s so easy to prepare! Simply toast some bread, top it with tomatoes and garlic, and drizzle with olive oil. Then, dig in and be amazed!
However you choose to enjoy your Bruschetta, just know that it’s the perfect way to turn an ordinary dish into something truly extraordinary.
Garlic Bread with Butter
Now, while some may say that garlic bread is an essential component of any Italian meal, others might argue that it is nothing more than a delicious side dish. No matter what camp you fall into, there is no denying that garlic bread pairs perfectly with Cacio e Pepe.
Let me tell you, the rich and creamy cheese sauce is the perfect foil for the crispy garlicky bread, and the butter adds a touch of richness that takes the dish to higher heights.
And, of course, you could always go the traditional route and serve garlic bread on the side, but why not get creative? Try using it as a base for the Cacio e Pepe, or even topping it with a fried egg for a heartier meal.
Irrespective of how you choose to savor it, there is no doubt that garlic bread makes the perfect companion for Cacio e Pepe.
Next, if what you desire is a side dish that is both flavorful and elegant, then look no further than stuffed mushrooms. They are a perfect complement to Cacio e Pepe and trust me these little bites are bursting with flavor, thanks to the combination of herbs, breadcrumbs, and cheese.
Plus, not only do they add another layer of flavor to the dish, but they also help to round out the meal.
What’s more, they make for a beautiful presentation and are sure to impress your guests. While they may look like they take a lot of effort to prepare, stuffed mushrooms are actually quite easy to make.
Simply remove the stems from the mushrooms, stuff them with your desired filling, and bake until golden brown. It’s really that simple!
Yet another one of my personal favorites is baked eggplant. The eggplant helps to balance out the meal, and its slight sweetness pairs well with the sharpness of the Pecorino cheese. Plus, the eggplant provides a welcome contrast in texture to the creamy pasta.
Naturally, eggplant is a versatile vegetable that can be used in a number of dishes, but it truly shines when it’s baked. Hence, I recommend that you baked the eggplant, by simply slicing it into thin rounds, brush with olive oil, and bake in a preheated oven until tender.
Once it’s out of the oven, top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and you’re good to go! And, whether you’re serving it for a casual family dinner or a formal dinner party, baked eggplant is sure to please.
Lightly Fried Zucchini
Move over, french fries! There’s a new side dish in town, and it’s called lightly fried zucchini. This delicious vegetable is the perfect accompaniment to any meal, but it goes especially well with Cacio e Pepe. Plus, the zucchini provides a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals.
As it relates to preparation, you can either fry or bake the zucchini, but I prefer to fry it.
To do so, simply slice the zucchini into thin rounds, dust with flour, and then fry in hot oil until golden brown. Once they’re out of the fryer, be sure to sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a bit of parmesan cheese. And that’s it!
Needless to say, the light coating of the batter ensures that the zucchini stays crispy, while the Parmesan cheese and black pepper give it a classic flavor that pairs perfectly with the pasta dish. So don’t be afraid to ditch the french fries and try lightly fried zucchini instead. You won’t be disappointed.
Following closely behind lightly fried zucchini are pot meatballs. And who doesn’t love a good meatball? They’re juicy, flavorful, and oh so versatile.
Now, when it comes to pairing them with other dishes, the possibilities are endless. But if you’re looking for a truly special way to enjoy your meatballs, why not try them as a side dish for cacio e Pepe?
Surprisingly enough, cacio e pepe is a pretty simple dish, but the flavor combination is truly out of this world. And when you add in a few pot meatballs, it’s even better! They add both texture and flavor to the dish.
Beyond that, they’re hearty and filling and have a subtle sweetness that pairs perfectly with the sharpness of the cheese and the heat of the black pepper. Plus, they’re super easy to make.
I’ll say, just mix together some ground beef, bread crumbs, an egg, and your favorite seasonings. Then form them into balls and brown them in a little olive oil. Once they’re cooked through, add them to your pasta dish and chow down!
Roasted Cauliflower with Parmesan Cheese
Lastly, we have roasted cauliflower with Parmesan cheese. And this side dish is perfect for those who are looking for a low-calorie veggie dish with a bit of flare.
Now, I’ll admit that cauliflower can be a bit bland on its own. But when it’s roasted to perfection and topped with a healthy dose of Parmesan cheese, it’s absolutely delicious.
Plus, it’s easy to prepare and can be made ahead of time. Simply Roast cauliflower florets in a hot oven until they’re tender and golden brown. Then, toss with grated Parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for later.
In addition, there are some other ways you can use this tasty side dish. Firstly, you can serve it as a healthy appetizer with crusty bread and dipping sauce. Second, add it to your favorite pasta dish or top it with grilled chicken or shrimp for the main course. Third, enjoy it as a snack right out of the fridge!
No matter how you enjoy it, roasted cauliflower with Parmesan cheese is sure to please.
Is pasta A side dish in Italy?
No, pasta is not traditionally served as a side dish in Italy. It is typically served as a first course or main course. However, there are some exceptions. For example, if you are serving a heavier meal, such as roasted meat or fish, you may want to serve pasta as a side dish.
What is the best Italian dish ever?
Well, that’s a tough question to answer. There are so many delicious Italian dishes out there! But if I had to narrow it down, there’s pizza, lasagna, cacio e pepe, and tiramisu. Just to name a few!
What sides go well with carbonara?
There are a few different sides that go well with carbonara. One is toasted bread with olive oil and sea salt. Another is a simple salad of mixed greens. And last but not least, roasted vegetables are also a great option.
In conclusion, there are many different side dishes that go well with cacio e pepe. Each one delivers a distinct flavor and texture that will take your dish soaring to higher heights.
So don’t be afraid to experiment and try something new! I guarantee you’ll find a new favorite, and you just might become the new champion of cacio e pepe side dishes.