How to Make a Perfect Cacio e Pepe, Every Time

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By Ketrin Agustine

Julia Moskin’s adapted Roscioli recipe features a clever trick that ensures a silky emulsified sauce.

A white plate holds a tangle of creamy cacio e pepe dusted with cracked black pepper.
Kerri Brewer for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

Good morning. You can spend your whole adult life doing something absolutely correctly and never quite feel as if you’ve mastered the task. This is especially true in cooking. For instance, how many hard-boiled eggs have you made in the last 10 years? Now, be honest: How many of them were you proud of — perfect little pouches of fudgy yolk and silken, just-set white?

Is this hollandaise going to be as cloudlike and perfect as it was the time before last? How does your fresh yogurt taste when you compare it with the batch that made everyone swoon back in March? You can make pizza dough twice a month for a year and you’ll still be nervous every time you pull a fermented round from the fridge. Put some beef ribs in the smoker and tell me you’re not going to offer the barbecue gods a little prayer.

We’re not restaurant chefs here. We’re ambitious home cooks with a lot of responsibilities that impinge on the pursuit of perfection. We need hacks, tips, advice, techniques that deliver consistent success. And boy howdy has Julia Moskin delivered one of those this week as part of her reporting on the Roscioli family, which is bringing an outpost of Roscioli, its storied restaurant in Rome, to SoHo in Manhattan.

In the course of her work, Julia secured the family’s recipe for cacio e pepe (above). Cacio e pepe is a fantastic dish, but it can be a scary one, too: the sauce too clumpy, or not emulsified enough. The Rosciolis avoid both issues with a premade “crema” of cheeses, black pepper and water that adds very little time to the preparation and as much as guarantees the consistent success of the dish.

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That’s Sunday dinner for sure.

As for the rest of the week. …

I like Hetty McKinnon’s recipe for silken tofu with spicy soy dressing for its big flavor and ease of preparation, which makes it a lovely weeknight win.

No one’s born loving the idea of rubbing mayonnaise on a chicken cutlet before grilling it, even J. Kenji López-Alt. But once he did, and once you do? His mayo-marinated chicken with chimichurri may well enter the regular rotation.

Lots of folks are talking about that beautiful omelet Sydney made for Nat on “The Bear,” with boursin, chives and crumbled ridged potato chips. I like Ferran Adrià’s potato chip omelet almost as much — a Spanish tortilla, really. Give that a try.

Eric Kim with an easy weeknight favorite: gochujang buttered noodles. A big punch of garlic reverberates in the heat of the gochujang, which is tempered by honey and sherry vinegar and made silky with butter. It’s a perfect sauce.

And then you can head into the weekend with carne asada, Genevieve Ko’s adaptation of a recipe by Estaban Castillo of Chicano Eats. That’s some big flavor.

There are thousands more recipes to cook this week awaiting you on New York Times Cooking, at least if you have a subscription. Subscriptions make this whole enterprise possible. If you haven’t already, I hope you will consider subscribing today. Thanks.

Housekeeping: You can reach me at if you’d like to tell me off or offer my colleagues praise. I can’t respond to every letter. But I do read every one.

Now, it’s some considerable distance from anything to do with capers or Sancerre, but I liked Laura Trethewey on buried history off the Florida coast, in Hakai Magazine.

Here’s Daniel Mendelsohn on the life and career and importance of the editor Robert Gottlieb, in The New York Review of Books.

Did you miss Celia McGee on Rose Styron in The Times, back in June? I did! If you did, too, it’s very much worth a read.

Finally, summer music from Fireboy DML: “Yawa.” Enjoy your cacio e pepe! I’ll be back on Friday.


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