Caroline Wright ‘s Cacio e Pepe and a giveaway!

9780761174936_p0_v1_s260x420I can’t exactly remember when I met Caroline as this whole online food world introduces you to so many people on a regular basis. But I do remember this: instant connection. Bright. Fun. Sharp. All the qualities I love in friends, and the fact that she knows food made it all the better.

So when she told me she was writing a book , Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute Meals, I couldn’t help but get excited. But little did I know this book would actually help me. As in I-need-something-quick-n-easy-but-still-delicious kind of help, and early on while reviewing the galley of the book I noticed myself actually cooking from it. And it’s not that I don’t mean to cook from the books written by my friends, but after spending all day in the studio with food I don’t usually get excited enough to step into our kitchen at home. Caroline has changed this.

 I wrote her a quick email and thanked her for really amazing solid recipes that feature ingredients that get me excited. And then I thanked her for the Cacio e Pepe recipe that has literally become a staple for us. As in once-a-week, as in super easy and delicious. And while I’ve tried quite a few recipes for this dish that features a delicious play between cheese and black pepper, I must tell you that this is my favorite and you will absolutely want to follow her steps for toasting. It makes all the difference in the world. Seriously.  (And yes, I was lazy once and tried to skip it and it just wasn’t the same, trust me on this).


Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook 1 pound spaghetti according to package directions. Drain the pasta (reserve 3/4 cup pasta water) and return it to the pot.

Meanwhile, heat a small skillet over medium heat. Place 2 teaspoons black peppercorns and 2 teaspoons Szechuan peppercorns in the pan and toast until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Place the peppercorns in a mortar and crush with a pestle until coarsely ground. Transfer the pepper to a medium bowl with 3 large egg yolks and 2 packed cups finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese.

When the pasta is done, stir 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water into the egg mixture, add the pasta, and toss to coat. Stir in the remaining pasta water, if needed, to reach the desired consistency. Season with salt, and serve immediately.

Excerpted from Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute Meals, Copyright 2013 by Caroline Wright. Used by permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc. New York. All Rights Reserved.

I’m giving away a copy of her latest book, Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute Meals, to a random commenter below. Leave a comment, I’ll pick a random number, and the book shall be yours!

Caroline Wright is a food writer, editor, recipe developer and tester, food stylist, and photographer who works for Cooking Light, Real Simple, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Women’s Day, and Oxmoor House, among others. A former food editor at Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food, she is a graduate of the prestigious Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne.


  1. Tracy says

    Hi Matt-
    Looks like a book I’d use…love reading about your adventures!

  2. MICHELE says

    sounds wonderful , amazing how the simplest recipes let the flavors shine !

  3. Claire says

    The book looks great. Just what I need tonight as I leave the office and need to fit in dinner before a late meeting!

  4. Nancy says

    So simple and satisfying! Any pasta with two cups parmesan is up my alley! Thanks for posting!

  5. Adam says

    This post may have convinced me finally to try making Cacio e Pepe. Looks especially good here.

  6. Susan says

    This sounds like a wonderful new way to enjoy Szechuan peppercorns, which I love. It’s on the menu this week at home!

  7. kitblu says

    Wow. What a unique way to use Szechuan peppercorns. I can also use new ways to use them.

  8. dieselle says

    Sometimes the simplest recipes and ingredients turn out to be THE BEST dishes! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  9. Amy says

    Sounds great and wi definitely try it next weeks as these ingredients are things I always have around, and who wouldn’t love a free cookbook

  10. Cheryl says

    Yumm! And looks so easy. I have had this in Italy with many variations; peas, italian ham, bitter greens but I think your way sounds like the best way!!!!

  11. m says

    This sounds like a fantastic cookbook for the working, hobby-laden woman who still wants to get fresh, home-cooked meals on the table every night. (That would be meeeee! :D) Definitely making the Cacio e Pepe soon.

  12. Dede says

    Getting ready to make this for dinner. Found Szechuan peppercorns at our local Asian grocery. I have happy memories of eating this dish for the first time in Rome.

  13. says

    Simple pasta is the best! Sometimes, there’s nothing like a warm bowl of basic spaghetti to twirl your fork around in… Mmmm… Comfort foods at it’s best

  14. DanielleB says

    I just returned from 3 weeks in Italy and this recipe sums up my favorite part of the adventure . . . delicious and simple food! Can’t wait to make this!


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