Caroline Wright ‘s Cacio e Pepe and a giveaway!

by Matt on May 6, 2013

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.

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potluck book party! - THE WRIGHT RECIPES
May 7, 2013 at 7:01 am


sara May 7, 2013 at 10:41 am

This looks awesome! Now I just need to find Szechuan peppercorns! :)

Tom May 7, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Looks pretty damn delicious.

Kiran @ May 7, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Looks like a great cookbook, and now I’m hungry looking at that delish pasta ;)

Darci May 7, 2013 at 1:32 pm

What a great idea…Love it.

Fredrik May 7, 2013 at 3:32 pm

That sounds addictive!

tess May 7, 2013 at 7:50 pm

it looks and sounds so easy and scrumptious. thanks for sharing the info.

Kathy M May 7, 2013 at 8:52 pm

I always love a new cookbook. Thanks for thinking of us!

Tracy May 7, 2013 at 9:53 pm

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

MICHELE May 8, 2013 at 9:08 am

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

Loretta | A Finn In The Kitchen May 8, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Sounds like a fantastic book. Count me in!

Zoi May 8, 2013 at 3:37 pm

would love to have the book, sounds great!

Claire May 8, 2013 at 5:30 pm

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

Laura May 8, 2013 at 6:16 pm

looks simple and packed with flavor

tresamie May 9, 2013 at 12:13 am

Wondering why my comment is still awaiting moderation?
Was I naughty? :P

Nancy May 9, 2013 at 7:27 pm

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

Rebecca May 10, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Sounds like exactly the type of cookbook I would use!

Marianne May 10, 2013 at 6:32 pm

Uh, what were you saying? I’m sorry I was distracted by the pasta!

Adam May 10, 2013 at 9:53 pm

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

Randy May 11, 2013 at 3:33 am

Thanks Great

Christy S May 11, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Can’t wait to try this..

Susan May 12, 2013 at 11:02 am

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

Kathleen Kiley May 12, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Love this recipe

Kathleen Kiley May 12, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Cannot wait to try this!

Robin O'D May 12, 2013 at 1:46 pm

This is the kind of book I need! That pasta sounds great!

kitblu May 12, 2013 at 4:07 pm

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

dieselle May 12, 2013 at 5:49 pm

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

Amy May 12, 2013 at 7:50 pm

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

Aaron May 13, 2013 at 7:19 am

Thanks for sharing this recipe, will have to give this a try soon!

Becky May 14, 2013 at 5:05 am


Cheryl May 14, 2013 at 7:54 am

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!!!!

m May 14, 2013 at 11:51 am

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.

June Phillips May 14, 2013 at 12:47 pm


Carol May 14, 2013 at 1:23 pm


Monica @ Local Italian Plate May 16, 2013 at 12:23 pm

This is the essence of Italian food. Beautifully captured as always, Matt.

Dede May 17, 2013 at 5:37 pm

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.

Jordie May 19, 2013 at 12:20 am

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

DanielleB May 21, 2013 at 6:47 pm

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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