Pasta alla Gricia is a typical first course of Roman cuisine and is the oldest version of Amatriciana. In fact, in many places it is known as Amatriciana Bianca because of the absence of tomato.
Reading time 3 minutes
The two types of pasta usually used for this recipe are rigatoni or spaghetti, whipped and seasoned with pecorino cheese, pepper and cooking water (as in the recipe for Cacio e Pepe), but with the addition of crispy strips of guanciale (pork cheek).
This first course is a real treat for the palate, and in order to make it to perfection, here is the recipe that was given to me by a lady who owns a restaurant in Rome 🙂
Ingredients that serve 2 people
- 180 g rigatoni (or spaghetti)
- 150 g of guanciale (1 cm thick slices cut into strips)
- 100 g Pecorino Romano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Coarsesalt (for the pasta water)
- One glass of pasta cooking water
- Clean the bacon, cut it into 1 cm thick slices and fry it in a frying pan - do not add any oil! The guanciale will release its fat and become crispy.
- Remove the strips of guanciale from the frying pan and place them on a plate lined with kitchen paper.
- Don't touch the fat left in the pan, as you will need it to cream the pecorino cheese and to flavour the pasta.
- Clean and grate the pecorino cheese, putting some aside to garnish the dishes.
- Pour the rest of the pecorino into the pan where the guanciale fat was left.
- Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet until one minute before the end of the cooking time.
- One minute before the end of the cooking time, pour a glass of the cooking water over the pecorino and stir.
- Drain pasta but save half a glass of cooking water.
- Pour into the frying pan, add the strips of guanciale, reserving some to garnish the dish, and stir.
- If you feel that the sauce is not creamy enough, add a little of the cooking water, which will have cooled by now. This step is essential to prevent the pecorino from thickening and forming lumps.
- Serve and garnish with the pecorino and the strips of bacon.