Pasta alla Gricia Recipe (Pasta with Guanciale, Pecorino, and Black Pepper)

4 min read

Welcome to Parla’s Pastas, a bi-weekly column by the Rome-based, New York Instances best-selling cookbook writer Katie Parla. Right here you’ll discover conventional and impressed recipes from Italy’s 20 areas. Prepare for a carb-driven journey via the trattorias of Rome, the kitchens of Sicily (her ancestral homeland), rural Campania, and past. Hearth up a pot of water, and andiamo!

Gricia must be a family title. The pillar of Roman delicacies hits the excessive notes of Central Italian meals with its sauce of pleasingly pungent Pecorino Romano, fat-rich guanciale, and coarsely floor black pepper. Like amatriciana and carbonara, Rome’s better-known pastas, gricia achieves daring taste utilizing surprisingly few components—but by no means had its viral second. It’s about time: Guanciale and pecorino play lead roles, fairly than being muted or mellowed within the background. 

Roman cooks declare that gricia originated in northern Lazio, deep within the Apennine mountains. Shepherds launched city-dwellers to the dish over a century in the past, and it caught.  Certainly, it will go on to encourage Rome’s different iconic pastas: Spiked with tomato sauce, it turned amatriciana. Enriched with egg, it birthed carbonara. However regardless of the worldwide renown of those later creations, gricia by no means bought its due—even when it’s nonetheless a pillar of the Roman trattoria.  

Nowadays, gricia is my go-to order at Salumeria Roscioli, a gourmand deli and restaurant in Rome’s centro storico. There, crisp cubes of guanciale mingle with “al chiodo” (not fairly al dente) rigatoni and three distinctive, fragrant kinds of black pepper. 

When I’ve mates on the town, I take them to Armando al Pantheon (a block from, you guessed it, the Pantheon), the place chef Claudio Gargioli softens the guanciale with a splash of white wine. The porky strips get caught within the strands as you twirl. 

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Gricia alla Katie? For starters, I’m a rigatoni lady: Who can resist these porky bits that settle contained in the tubular structure? Guanciale-wise, I spring for rectangles, versus cubes, which crisp up properly (see notice beneath). The sauce is impressed by my native, Cesare al Casaletto, a trattoria a number of blocks from my house. It’s outstandingly silky. I replicate it at dwelling by cooking the pasta midway in frivolously salted water to compensate for the very salty pecorino, then add it to the pan with a ladleful of pasta water, a wholesome dose of guanciale, and its flavorful rendered fats. The important thing, I’ve realized, is to swirl the pasta because it finishes cooking to realize an ideal mantecatura (emulsion). To duplicate and get that good chew, use your senses, fairly than a timer, to find out when the pasta is finished and has the right chew. Final come beneficiant cranks of black pepper, and sufficient finely grated Pecorino Romano to connect all of it collectively. Make it in the present day to be immediately transported to the animated trattorias of Rome irrespective of the place you might be. 

Be aware: For those who fancy crisp guanciale, cook dinner it over medium warmth and switch it to a plate, leaving the fats within the pan, whilst you put together the dish. Then add the crisp guanciale with the pasta earlier than plating. If doable, search out guanciale with a easy black pepper and salt remedy, fairly than one flavored with fennel, garlic, or chile. The dish is all in regards to the pure taste of black pepper.

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Yield: 4

Time: half-hour


  • 9 oz. guanciale
  • ¾ cup finely grated Pecorino Romano (2½ oz.), divided
  • Nice sea salt
  • 1 lb. dried rigatoni pasta
  • 2 tsp. freshly floor black pepper


  1. Minimize off and discard the guanciale’s seasoned crust, then minimize into ¼-inch-thick slabs. Slice every slab lengthwise, then minimize into ¾-inch-thick strips.
  2. To a big, chilly cast-iron skillet or pan, add the guanciale and switch the warmth to medium-low. Cook dinner, stirring often, till the fats renders, 10–quarter-hour. Take away from the warmth and put aside to chill barely.
  3. In the meantime, carry a big pot of salted water (see headnote) to a boil, then  add the rigatoni and boil till barely al dente, somewhat greater than half of the beneficial cooking time on the bundle. Switch 1 cup of the pasta cooking water to the pan with the guanciale and put aside one other ½ cup.
  4. Drain the pasta, then add it to the pan with the guanciale and switch the warmth to medium-high. Cook dinner, swirling the pan, till the pasta is al dente and coated in sauce, 5–7 minutes. Flip off the warmth and stir within the black pepper and  ½ cup of the Pecorino. If the sauce is just too thick, progressively add sufficient reserved pasta water to make a clean, creamy sauce. Serve instantly, passing the remaining Pecorino for sprinkling.

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