Recipe courtesy of Elena Besser

Cacio e Pepe-Style Chicken Thighs

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 45 min
  • Active: 35 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
This dish is a perfect one-pan meal that looks beautiful and tastes out of this world. Corn and radishes are sauteed in the rendered fat from chicken thighs. The dish is then showered with Parmesan and black pepper, paying homage to the Roman pasta called cacio e pepe (''cheese and pepper'' in Italian). I am obsessed with this dish for weeknight meals or easy summer entertaining. You can even use frozen corn to make this recipe year-round.



  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Pat the chicken dry and sprinkle on both sides with salt and a little pepper. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet high heat until shimmering and almost smoking. Add the chicken skin-side down and cook until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook until the chicken is almost cooked through and deeply browned on both sides, 10 to 13 minutes; move the chicken around every so often to ensure the chicken cooks evenly.
  3. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside on a plate. Reduce the heat to medium and add the corn and radishes to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Add the lemon zest and cook, stirring occasionally for 2 to 3 minutes. Nestle the chicken into the corn mixture, skin-side down, and place in the oven for 10 minutes.
  4. Combine the Parmesan with 3 tablespoons pepper in a small bowl. 
  5. Remove the skillet from the oven and flip the thighs to skin-side up. Squeeze the lemon over the top and sprinkle with the Parmesan and pepper mixture. Return the skillet to the oven until the chicken skin is crisp and the cheese is golden, 5 to 7 minutes longer.  
  6. Top with basil and enjoy!

Cook’s Note

I like to grate Parmesan in a food processor or high-speed blender until the consistency resembles sand. Alternatively, you can use a rasp grater.