Match of the week |  Cacio e pepe and Frappato

Match of the week

Cacio e pepe and Frappato

I’ve never known quite what wine to pair with cacio e pepe, the fashionable pasta dish that’s just based on cheese (usually pecorino) and cracked pepper.

It’s not creamy like a carbonara but it is very (deliciously) cheesy and the pepper adds a spicy hit that would fight with anything tannic.

I’ve drunk English sparkling wine with it when it was paired with fried chicken but I think that was more about the chicken than the pasta and could have gone down the white wine route. The dish originally comes from Rome so I could have drunk a Frascati if I’d been able to get hold of decent one.

I was thinking along the lines of a light red like a Valpolicella but Francesco at my local Italian deli, Divino in Bristol, where I buy my pici (the thick spaghetti-like pasta you need for cacio e pepe) suggested a light juicy Sicilian Frappato (the Sibiliana Roceno 2018) which went perfectly. You seem to be able to buy it online from Alivini (for £9.19 a bottle plus delivery) though they’re normally a trade supplier, I believe.

By the way cacio e pepe is really easy to make if you want to try it at home - Felicity Cloake gives a recipe in her excellent The Perfect series. Be warned though: it is addictive!

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Comments: 2 (Add)

Fiona Beckett on October 2 2020 at 17:51

All fair points though I suspect that cacio e pepe provokes the same difference in points of view - and passions - as carbonara!

Dennis on October 2 2020 at 17:41

A good cacio e pepe should be just as "creamy" as a carbonara, although, of course, neither uses any cream. (By the way the photo used shows a terribly dry-looking cacio e pepe.) It's interesting that the two suggested wines (Valpolicella and Frappata) come from Italy's extreme north and south, respectively, when the dish hails from the center of the country. That doesn't mean anything definitive, of course, but why not suggest a Chianti (red) or Orvieto or Frascati (both white) from nearby? Finally, considering the difficulty of getting a consistently good cacio e pepe even in Italy (much greater difficulty in the U.S.; I can't speak for England), describing the dish as "really easy to make" is simply laughable--although it is very easy to make badly.

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