Cacio e pepe translates to cheese and pepper, and the classic Roman pasta dish includes little more than those eponymous ingredients. In that recipe, spaghetti and salted pasta water combine with a salty sheep cheese called Pecorino Romano to create a silky, luxurious sauce that far surpasses the sum of its parts.
For the past few years, cacio e pepe has been on a tear among chefs and food fanatics. In a 2021 Los Angeles Times article, Jenn Harris shows that the origins of the relatively modern pasta dish are somewhat cloudy: Black pepper would have been too expensive for most Romans until the middle of the 20th century. It’s likely the dish can trace its popularity to the osterias of the 1950s and 60s, where it was probably sold to encourage patrons to drink more wine. Now, you can find cacio e pepe in everything from bagels to lasagna. Never one to miss a trend, Trader Joe’s has released cacio e pepe-flavored products, including a jarred sauce and cacio e pepe puffs.
We eat a lot of matzah brei at my house, so it was only a matter of time before I thought to mash up my morning matzah brei with this recently-trending flavor combination. Cacio e pepe’s sharp cheese and smack of black pepper are a nice balance to eggy-creamy matzah brei, and it can be on the table in about 10 minutes, making it a simple, satisfying weekday breakfast.
- 2 large eggs
- 1 Tbsp whole milk
- 2 sheets matzah
- 1 Tbsp butter or margarine
- ½ cup Pecorino Romano, finely grated
- ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- ⅛ tsp kosher salt
- Crack 2 large eggs into a small bowl with 1 Tbsp milk, and whisk until beaten. Crumble 2 sheets of matzah into the egg mixture, and allow to sit for 3-5 minutes, until soft.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp butter or margarine in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Pour the matzah-egg mixture into the pan, and while the eggs are still loose, sprinkle in ½ cup grated Pecorino Romano and ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper. Cook until the eggs are just set, 1-2 minutes, and season with ⅛ tsp kosher salt. Serve immediately.