Tenderstem® broccoli cacio e pepe

Tenderstem® broccoli cacio e pepe

We’ve teamed up with Ed Smith, author of On the Side: a sourcebook of inspiring recipes; The Borough Market Cookbook; and the acclaimed food blog rocketandsquash.com, to create this delicious and simple side dish that will impress everyone this Christmas.

Ed said: “Cacio e pepe (“cheese and pepper”) is a Roman pasta dish typically involving either spaghetti, tonarelli or pici pasta shapes. It’s simple in design, but when done well it’s hard to believe such a glossy, silky, flavourful sauce comes from such a small and unassuming ingredient list; the result is so, so much more than cheesy peppery pasta.

“This recipe takes the spirit of the dish and adapts it to suit Tenderstem® broccoli with, again, the end result being much greater than the sum of its parts. Don’t be tempted to heat the saucepan, as you’ll likely end up with a stringy mess rather than silky sauce. This side dish works well with a wide variety of centrepieces; in particular beef, chicken, lamb, mushrooms or white fish.”

Preparation time

5 minutes

Cooking time

10 minutes



Dietary requirements

  • Gluten free
  • Nut free

Nutritional information per serving

  • kcal 171
  • Fat 13.7g Medium
  • Saturates 8.7g High
  • Carbs 2.3g
  • Sugars 1.8g Low
  • Fibre 3.2g
  • Protein 8g
  • Salt 0.5g Medium


  1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the Tenderstem® broccoli and simmer vigorously for 3 ½ to 4 minutes so that the Tenderstem® broccoli is cooked but still vibrant, with just a hint of bite.

  2. While the Tenderstem® broccoli is boiling, put 70g of the cheese, the butter and the ground black pepper into a large and wide frying pan or wok. Add 6 tbsp of hot water from the pan of Tenderstem® broccoli and use a whisk to mix the melting cheese and butter into a paste. Add 2-3 more tbsp of water and encourage the paste to become a silky, yellow-grey sauce. Do not heat the pan as the cheese will become stringy and claggy; any bits that aren’t melting will have a second chance with the addition of the hot Tenderstem® broccoli.

  3. When the Tenderstem® broccoli is cooked, drain through a colander then immediately add to the wide pan (which is still not on the heat). Use tongs and a continual shake of the pan to toss the Tenderstem® broccoli through the sauce, ensuring the cheese has fully melted and there is a general gloss to the Tenderstem® broccoli.

  4. Decant onto a serving platter, pouring the sauce over the top. Sprinkle over an additional pinch of pepper plus the remaining 10g of grated cheese. Be sure that everyone gets a spoonful or two of the sauce as well as their Tenderstem® broccoli.

More ways to cook Tenderstem®

Nutrition information for Tenderstem® broccoli is based on lab analysis of the raw product commissioned by Tenderstem® broccoli. Please note, nutrition may vary due to origin, methods of storage and preparation, and freshness.

Nutrition analysis of recipes featured on the Tenderstem® broccoli website is calculated by a registered dietitian using McCance and Widdowson's The Composition of Foods, Seventh Edition, but may vary slightly depending on the specific ingredients used. Analyses do not include optional ingredients or suggested accompaniments unless specific amounts are given. If there is a range in the amount of an ingredient, the smaller amount is used. When a recipe lists a choice of ingredients, the first is used.