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Heinz Beck’s Cacio e Pepe with Marinated White Shrimp, Lime and Chervil

Heinz Beck


The traditional dictates of Italian cookery have it that pasta, seafood and cheese should never mingle.

But rules do not apply to great chefs like Heinz Beck, whose three Michelin-starred flagship restaurant La Pergola is widely considered to be the best in Rome. There, his signature take on cacio e pepe – the classic Roman spaghetti adorned with nothing more than cheese and pepper – is instead dressed up with raw shrimp and lime. And some five years after he introduced the dish there, it has become one of his most widely imitated innovations.

“It works because of the sweetness of the shrimp, the lime and the tang of the cheese,” Beck explains. “Change anything and it doesn’t work anymore.”

His strict instructions follow.

Cacio e Pepe with Marinated White Shrimp, Lime and Chervil
IngredientsFor the garnish:

  • 250 g finest quality fresh shrimp, like humpback, sidestripe or spot prawns
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Fresh chervil

For the pasta:

  • 360 g top quality Italian spaghetti (preferably De Cecco no. 12)
  • Salt
  • 150 g finest Pecorino Romano, grated
  • 20 g (3 tbsp) coarsely ground black pepper
  • 150 ml fish or veal stock

METHODServes 4 (as an appetizer)

  1. Clean and peel the shrimp, split lengthwise and transfer to a bowl.
  2. Add lime zest and juice, olive oil and a dash of salt, mix well and set aside in the refrigerator.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil, add pasta and cook until two minutes shy of al dente.
  4. Meanwhile, combine cheese and pepper (to taste) in a bowl.
  5. Bring stock to a simmer in a large saucepan. Drain pasta, and transfer to the saucepan to finish cooking in the stock.
  6. When pasta is al dente, remove from heat, add cheese and pepper mixture, and toss until creamy. Divide between four warm serving bowls. Top each portion with marinated shrimp and garnish with chervil, as well as extra cheese and pepper to taste.

Enjoy at once!


Heinz Beck is one of Europe’s most respected chefs, holding five Michelin stars and associated with some of the most renowned fine dining restaurants across the world. Chef Beck spent the early days of his culinary career in kitchens throughout Germany. In Mallorca, he was Sous Chef at two Michelin-starred, Tristan. He returned to Germany to work under legendary chef, Heinz Winkler, where he became Sous Chef at Residenz. Finally, he moved to Rome to head up La Pergola in 1994, to which he has successfully brought three Michelin stars.

He recently launched Taste of Italy by Heinz Beck, his first casual restaurant concept which offers diners the chance to indulge in gourmet cuisine infused with his signature, Michelin-rated twist on Italian style home cooking.


Shot on location at the Toronto Star Test Kitchen

The Toronto Star‘s test kitchen is the heart of its food coverage, where every recipe is tested until perfection. Chefs also visit the space to demonstrate their techniques and cook with Karon Liu, the Star’s food writer.