The Cheesy Twist Giada De Laurentiis Puts On Her Eggs For Brunch

Giada De Laurentiis' California-Italian restaurant at The Cromwell hotel in Las Vegas features plenty of yummy brunch dishes you'd expect from the celebrity chef: a caprese frittata with mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes, and basil; a polenta waffle with pancetta, chives, béchamel, and eggs; and hazelnut chocolate chip pancakes with Nutella, strawberries, and honey mascarpone. But one of the simplest options on the menu, the avocado toast, highlights De Laurentiis' cacio e pepe eggs, which come with cherry tomatoes. In this dish, the eggs are scrambled with black pepper and pecorino cheese, which are also added on top at the end. It's her recent favorite item on the brunch menu, as she said in an interview with Tasting Table.

The added cheese sounds easy enough, but as De Laurentiis claims in her recipe for the fried version of the dish, "After you try frying your eggs cacio e pepe style, you'll never want to go back." It's an uncomplicated but tasty twist with a focus on a few high-quality ingredients, just like many good Italian recipes. In fact, as De Laurentiis claims in an in-depth how-to guide on her website, "Cacio e pepe could be the posterchild" of deliciously simple Italian food. And perhaps most important, she says, is to use good cheese — aka, high-quality pecorino and Parmigiano Reggiano. 

Giada De Laurentiis puts her spin on cacio e pepe

While De Laurentiis' restaurant brunch eggs are soft and scrambled, her fried cacio e pepe version is embedded in a pecorino and parmesan crust, where the crispiness perfectly balances out the runny yolks. To make it, the cheese goes into the pan first to get crunchy — then, the eggs are cracked right on top to start cooking. Once they're hit with salt, black pepper, and more cheese, they're flipped to finish frying. It's a textural change from the cacio e pepe eggs De Laurentiis serves at her restaurant, but the flavor elements remain the same.

In fact, the chef's love of cacio e pepe doesn't stop at her brunch menu. The dinner menu at Giada features cacio e pepe bucatini, which is served in a pecorino Toscano cheese wheel. And De Laurentiis isn't shy about her love for the flavor in general — not only is cacio e pepe one of her favorite cheesy pasta dishes, but she has recipes for a simple cacio e pepe pasta with pecorino, parmesan, and black pepper, and a zhuzhed-up version with pancetta and arugula added. To try her take on cheesy scrambled eggs, however, you'll have to head to her Las Vegas restaurant.