Toronto Life Insider Chef's Pantry | Quarantine Cuisine: Dova’s Sicilian spin on cacio e pepe at home

The Toronto Life Insider Chef’s Pantry

Toronto Life's Quarantine Cuisine series features signature recipes created by Toronto chefs. Every month features a different make-at-home dish from a popular Toronto restaurant menu. We hope you enjoy them. This month, learn how to make Dova's Sicilian spin on cacio e pepe at home.


Toronto Life Quarantine Cuisine

Head Chef - DOVA

Cacio e pepe has staunchly Roman roots, but Dova chef Roberto Marotta is a proud Sicilian. So when he was planning the menu for his Cabbagetown sequel to King East’s Ardo, he devised a homage to the punchy pasta infused with a Sicilian sensibility. Marotta uses fresh ricotta—a go-to from his youth thanks to the cooking of his grandmother, Nonna Maria—to bind the pasta while offering a mellow counterpoint to the snap of the pepper. “It’s a pretty simple recipe,” Marotta says, “but it’s more difficult to put together a simple dish. When you use fewer ingredients, you have to balance every single element to get a proper result.” The dish is a staple of Dova’s takeout menu, where it can be paired with wood-fired pizzas, family style lasagna kits and wines from Italy and beyond. For a DIY pasta night, here’s how Marotta makes it.

Exclusive Recipe by Chef Roberto Marotta

Cacio e Pepe (with a Sicilian spin)
simple and quick diy dinner idea


  • Season a pot of water with salt. “Imagine having a little sip of ocean water,” Marotta says of how the salted water should taste. He uses approximately 3.5 grams of sea salt for every litre of water.

  • Bring water to a boil, add pasta, and cook for one minute less than indicated by the directions on the packaging.

  • Meanwhile, in a large pan, toast a quarter of a teaspoon of the black pepper on high heat for one minute, or until fragrant. Toasting amplifies the flavour of the pepper.

  • Add two teaspoons of pasta water to the pan to quickly stop the pepper from toasting. Turn off the heat.

  • Add the ricotta and whisk to combine, adding a few more teaspoons of pasta water until the sauce thins to a consistency slightly denser than whipping cream.

  • Drain the pasta and add to the pan. Coat the noodles in the sauce and add the grated pecorino.

  • Plate the noodles and finish with the remaining black pepper.

  • enjoy!

100 g fresh or dry spaghetti, ideally a thicker noodle like spaghettoni

• 80 g fresh ricotta cheese

• 30 g Sicilian pecorino, grated

• 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper 



Looking for more items? Then explore Door2Door Fresh for more fresh meats, produce & pantry selections.