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


  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®