PASTA ALLA GRICIA
Spaghetti alla Gricia is one of the oldest pasta dishes in Roman history! It uses pecorino romano and guanciale to create a mouthwatering flavor. My favourite way to describe it is as the love child of Carbonara and Cacio e Pepe. And dare I say, it might just be creamier! On my recent travels to Rome, I learnt the right way to create this simple yet scrumptious dish.
Watch the Pasta alla Gricia video recipe:
How to make PASTA ALLA GRICIA like an Italian
Vincenzo’s Plate Tips
Any Pasta Works!
I’m using mezze maniche pasta noodles in this recipe because they absorb the cheese sauce nicely, and the sauce can get on the inside and outside of the pasta. However, you can also use rigatoni, spaghetti, or even fresh pasta. If you can’t find mezze maniche, you can substitute it with your favorite but I do think a shorter shape is best.
Use All the Guanciale
When cooking with guanciale, some people like to remove the peppered outer layer or trim some of the fat. But for this dish, we use every piece of the guanciale, so don’t waste any part of it. You’ll be throwing away flavor if you do! We will be cooking the pasta in the rendered fat of the guanciale, so we want as much guanciale as we can get.
Don’t Clean the Pots and Pans
Some people like to clean while they cook, but not for this recipe! After you cook the guanciale, save the fatty oil and set the pan aside for later. Once the pasta is cooked, we are going to toss it into the pan with all that savory guanciale flavor and let it soak it all up! The same goes for your pasta water. Don’t strain the pasta when it’s done cooking because we will use the starchy water to help thicken our cheese sauce!
Paper Towels Keep it Crispy
After you’re finished cooking the guanciale, place it on a plate and cover it with a paper towel. This is important! The paper towel will help absorb the excess oil on the meat while it cooks, making your guanciale so crispy. If you don’t lay it on a paper towel, you will be left with soggy strips of guanciale that won’t give this dish the crunch it needs.
Don’t Skimp on the Black Pepper
Black pepper is one of the most essential ingredients in this dish. It provides a real spice kick and brings an incredible aroma to this recipe. Go by feel when adding black pepper to the pan for toasting or into the pecorino romano. If you’re a person who loves black pepper, put a lot into the cheese or on top of your pasta. You can’t go wrong with black pepper in spaghetti alla gricia, so if you like it, be generous!
How to Serve Spaghetti alla Gricia
When serving spaghetti alla gricia, don’t put every piece of guanciale back into the pasta when cooking it in the cheese sauce. Instead, save a handful on the side to garnish on top of the pasta and add a little crunch when plating. Don’t forget the key, top it with as much black pepper as you want!
Pasta alla Gricia Recipe
- 1 large pot
- 1 Aluminum pan
- 1 wooden spoon
- 1 knife
- 1 fork
- 1 Small bowl
- 1 Chopping-board
- 1 Spatula
- 1 Plate
- Paper towels
- Measuring spoons
- 1 Mug
- Stainless steel skimmer for pasta or slotted spoon
- 250 grams Mezze maniche pasta 9 oz.
- 150 grams Pecorino romano cheese 5 oz.
- 150 grams Guanciale 5 oz.
- 1 Tbs. rock salt
- Black pepper as much as preferred
- Cut your guanciale into slices, lay it on a flat surface, and cut it into smaller strips.
- Add a generous amount of freshly cracked pepper to an aluminum pan and toast it over medium heat for one minute.
- Add guanciale into the pan and stir, cooking until the guanciale is golden brown.
- Remove the guanciale from the pan and place it on a plate covered in paper towels to cool. Set the pan with the rendered fat aside.
- Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, add a tablespoon of salt and allow it to dissolve.
- Add the mezze maniche pasta (or your pasta of choice) and cook for the amount of time on your packet instructions.
- Add black pepper into a small bowl with your pecorino romano and mix it.
- Using a mug, take some pasta water out of your pot. Little by little, add the pasta water to the pecorino romano and continue to mix. Stop when you have reached a thick cheese cream.
- Remove the pasta from the pot and place it into the aluminum pan with the rendered guanciale fat.
- Place the pan over low heat, add a splash of pasta water, and stir. Toss the pasta when well combined.
- Next, put the large pot back on the stove, and your pan on top of the pot. The steam from the pasta water will help cook the rest of the way.
- Add the cheese cream to the pan and stir until it's fully melted. Gradually add pasta water into the pan to help melt the cheese and thicken the sauce before tossing the pasta.
- Add one last splash of pasta water and the guanciale back into the pan and toss again. (Save some guanciale as your garnish).
- Plate the pasta and top with extra cheese sauce. Garnish with extra pieces of crispy guanciale and freshly cracked black pepper.
E ora si mangia, Vincenzo’s Plate… Enjoy!
Want to serve a whole Roman menu?
- As appetizer you MUST prepare these POTATO CROQUETTES, these are super popular in the Italian Capital!
- These SALTIMBOCCA would be perfect to continue your lunch/dinner!
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