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How to Make Chicken Cacio e Pepe

Our Editor-in-Chief takes a beloved pasta sauce and adapts it to a chicken dinner.

chicken cacio e pepe

Chicken Cacio e Pepe combines the rich pasta sauce with usually bland chicken breast—a win-win!

The obvious question about this chicken cacio e pepe recipe is why hasn't someone done this already? Or, if someone has beat me to it, why haven't the rest of us heard about chicken cacio e pepe before? I mean, come on: Cacio e pepe pasta is, as far as I can tell, a mandatory dish to order at a restaurant and/or to make at home. After all, the combination of cheese and black pepper is like peanut butter and jelly for adults. The flavors come together so perfectly.

What inspired me to adapt this recipe to pan-seared and roasted chicken breasts? I’d been test-searing chicken breasts for a review of the Hexclad pan without any plans for finishing them off once the testing was complete. As mentioned in this recipe for chicken cutlets, I prefer thighs over breasts when it comes to cooking chickens, but here I had a half-dozen breasts seared to golden perfection and no menu in mind. As I do when in such a situation, I looked around the kitchen and inspiration must have arrived in what I had on hand. 

Let’s call this “chicken serendipity” because the seared breasts topped with pepper and cheese turned out great, and I'm able to share a new recipe that is original, easy, and delicious. 

Try it out and let us know what you think!

Chicken Cacio e Pepe

Chicken Cacio e Pepe

Recipe by Andrew Cotto
4.5 from 4 votes


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 2 2 boneless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat and lightly pounded into uniform thickness

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 grated Pecorino Romano cheese

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 1 tbsp. 1 Freshly cracked black pepper

  • salt (to taste)


  • Preheat the over to 400 degrees.
  • Trim the breasts of fat and any other undesirable elements.
  • Gently pound the breasts until they reach a uniform thickness.
  • Heat the oil over medium in a pan on the stove top (lower heat at the first sign of smoke).
  • Season the breasts with salt (to taste) on both sides and sear in the pan for 3-4 minutes per side (looking for a golden brown color).
  • Transfer the breasts to an oven-safe vehicle and roast for 10 minutes.
  • Remove breasts and sprinkle with both cheeses.
  • Sprinkle breasts with cracked black pepper.
  • Return to the oven for 2-3 minutes.
  • Allow to cool, tented with foil, for 5 minutes before serving.
  • Enjoy!

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