“Cacio e Pepe” Mini Muffins, all the rich and tasty flavours of the famous “cacio e pepe” pasta, encased in a tiny muffin that bursts with character. Great eaten as is, or perfect appetizer bites that can be filled to taste.
Song of the day: Faded – SoulDecision.
If you’re from Rome, like me, you know that there are only two other renowned pasta dishes that can be compared to Cacio e Pepe. And they are the Carbonara and the Amatriciana. I hope many of you had the chance to taste the real deal in one of the Roman trattorie, osterie, restaurants that proudly have them on their menu. If you did, you were up for a real treat.
They are Roman icons and if you did taste those dishes in Rome, you would know that everything you had elsewhere with the same name, was -for the most part- just a faded copy of a masterpiece. Once in a while, we do happen upon a real jewel where the restaurateur holds true and authentic to the classic tradition. And although I have nothing against creativity and fusion dishes, I am kind of a “purist” when it comes to traditional dishes. Because those are the dishes that define our culture and Regional individuality, and if you know anything about Italians, pride is a fuel for confidence.
These Cacio e Pepe mini muffins have the main ingredients of the pasta dish but in a tiny muffin form:
- e.v.o. oil (or butter)
- Parmigiano Reggiano
- Pecorino Romano
- freshly ground black pepper
plus milk, eggs, flour and baking powder, to turn it into a muffin. Easy to make, all you need are two bowls, one for the dry, one for the wet ingredients, a whisk, a spatula, measuring spoons and cups, and a mini muffin tin lined with muffin liners.
After about 20 minutes in the oven and a little resting time, so not to burn your fingers and tongue, you can taste these adorable and oh so flavorful mini muffins. Light and crumbly, almost biscuit like, they have a nice kick from the pepper and the pungent nature of the cheese. They are lovely eaten like that, as a one-bite treat, or if you are planning a party, imagine serving the Cacio e Pepe mini muffins as the vehicle for any filling of your choice. We tried them with goat cheese and jam, and we enjoyed them for breakfast. Other options can be prosciutto and arugula, cream cheese and salmon, melted cheese, or wherever your creativity takes you.
It’s summer and a great time for that backyard party and these Cacio e Pepe mini muffins would be a great addition to the arrays of food that you may want to serve.
Song of the day: Faded – SoulDecision.
Recipe adapted from Chiarapassion
- 130 g (3/4 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour (or type 00)
- 8 g (1 Tbsp) baking powder
- 80 g (1 cup) Pecorino Romano, grated
- 20 g Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
- pinch of sea salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (or less if you like a less pronounced flavor)
- 1 large egg, organic, free range, lightly beaten
- 130 ml (1/2 cup) milk
- 30 ml (3 Tbsp) e.v.o. oil (or butter, melted)
- Preheat the oven to 375° F (190° C) and line a mini muffin tray with muffins liners.
- In one large bowl mix the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, grated Parmigiano and Pecorino, pinch of salt and pepper.
- In another bowl add the wet ingredients: the lightly beaten egg, milk, and oil (or melted butter).
- Add the wet to the dry ingredients and mix briefly with a spatula. Do not overwork, the dough must be lumpy.
- Fill muffin liners with a tsp of batter and cook in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350° F (180° C) and cook for about 10 more minutes or until nice and golden and a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out dry.
- Take out of the oven and set on a wire rack to cool.
- Serve as is, or cut in the middle and filled with your favorite fillings.
They are best eaten the same day, but keep for a couple of days in an airtight container. They also freeze well for about a month. When you want to use them, take them out of the freezer, let them thaw then warm up in the oven (at 325° F (160° C) for a few seconds. A party appetizers idea: fill them with cream cheese or goat cheese, add smoked salmon, dill and a caper. Or let your creativity run free!
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