Pasta alla Zozzona


It’s time to get down and dirty with Rome’s famous “dirty pasta,” Pasta alla Zozzona. It’s the cousin of Carbonara and the brother-in-law of Amatriciana, the best of both worlds. This dish isn’t well known outside of Rome, which is why your friends will think you’re a genius for making it.

Pasta alla Zozzona is both beautiful and decadent. The creaminess, the zesty tomato flavor, and the fatty taste of sausage all pair perfectly.

Watch the Pasta alla Zozzona video recipe:


How to make PASTA ALLA ZOZZONA – The Cousin of Carbonara who Likes Red Sauce

 Pasta alla Zozzona 

Vincenzo’s Plate Tips 

If You Can’t Find Guanciale, Use Pancetta or Bacon

Since guanciale can be hard to find outside of Italy or European grocery stores, Pancetta works well as an alternative. On the other hand, bacon can be used as a last resort. To understand the difference (and how it affects the taste): bacon is smoked, while the guanciale and pancetta are cured.

Cook the sauce slowly

It’s possible to cook the sauce on a high heat for 15 minutes if you’re in a hurry, but I wouldn’t completely recommend it. Take your time with the sauce, let it cook a full 30 minutes on medium heat. Drink some wine, do a little dance – and rest assured, it will taste better.

Don’t throw out the egg whites!

What do you do with the egg whites? Take a look at the amaretti biscuits recipe on my website. It’s an easy process and a great use for the egg whites leftover from this recipe.

Be generous with the Pecorino

If 4 generous tablespoons of Pecorino Romano is too much for your taste, you can mix it half and half with the Parmigiano, or just use less cheese. I recommend using a lot of cheese to get a creamier texture.

How to make Pasta alla Zozzona

How to Serve Pasta alla Zozzona 

When the tomato sauce is ready, sprinkle some fresh basil with your hands and mix well. At this point, add the pasta into the tomato sauce and mix the ingredients with a spoon. Toss the pasta and sauce in the pan. Lastly add a generous amount of cheese (of course) and let the carbonara sauce over the pasta.

Add some more Pecorino and toss. Stir and toss again until the color starts to become pinkish. Transfer the pasta onto a plate. Sprinkle more pecorino over the pasta and finish with freshly ground black pepper over the top. This is a beautiful, dirty, fatty, decadent dish you’re going to absolutely love.

Pasta alla Zozzona recipe

Pasta alla Zozzona

Pasta alla Zozzona

Why isn’t this dish more famous outside Rome? Pasta alla Zozzona is a decadent pasta that has a flavor you’ve never experienced before. It’s as though a Carbonara and Amatriciana made love and had a baby. It’s an extraordinary dish which combines pork ingredients with egg, tomato and pecorino cheese.
5 from 1 vote


  • knife
  • bowl
  • fork
  • Frying pan
  • wooden spoon
  • pot
  • Small bowl
  • Strainer
  • Spoon


  • 10.58 oz Rigatoni Pasta 300g
  • 3 free range/organic eggs
  • 1 thick pork Italian sausage
  • 5.29 oz Guanciale 150g
  • ½ Onion chopped finely
  • 28.2 oz Peeled tomatoes 2 x 400g cans
  • Pecorino Romano cheese as much as you like!
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh basil as much as preferred
  • Salt and pepper as much as required


To Prepare the Sauce

  • Pour the canned tomatoes into a bowl and gently press to break them down using a fork.
  • Remove the skin from the guanciale with a knife, but leave the fat.
  • Cut the guanciale into thin strips, then into bite-size pieces.
  • Make a shallow cut in the Italian sausage, then peel off the skin. Press the sausage meat flat with the side/tip of the knife and break it into smaller pieces.
  • Put three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in the frying pan. Add diced onion and cook for up to 7 minutes on medium heat (less if it starts to brown too much).
  • When the onion turns golden brown, add the guanciale, and once this is crispy add Italian sausage. Stir continuously making sure it is cooked all over.
  • Add some more extra virgin olive oil and allow it to cook through.
  • When sausage becomes greyish brown, add peeled tomatoes. Stir gently and cook for 15 minutes on medium-low heat.
  • Add a touch of salt and press down on the tomatoes to release the juice. Leave to cook for 15 more minutes.

To Cook the pasta

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a generous tablespoon of sea salt.
  • Add rigatoni to the boiling water and cook for 13 minutes, (or follow packet instructions to ensure they’re al dente).
  • Stir pasta occasionally and once ready, scoop up a mug full of pasta water.

Make the Carbonara Sauce

  • Separate the egg white and the yolk then whisk egg yolks in a bowl.
  • Add 4 generous tablespoons of Pecorino Romano. Mix the egg yolks and cheese with a fork until it thickens then add black pepper.
  • Mix a small amount of hot pasta water into the mix. The sauce should become a little runny, and the hot water should cook the egg yolks slightly.
  • Sprinkle fresh basil into the sauce, stir gently then add the pasta and Pecorino cheese.
  • Stir and toss until it becomes a pinkish color then add more Pecorino, and sprinkle black pepper on top.


Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

E ora si mangia, Vincenzo’s Plate….Enjoy!

Pasta alla Zozzona Vincenzo's Plate

Do you want to learn other Red Sauce pasta dishes?

  • Have you ever tried  TUNA PASTA with a Red Sauce? You should!

Tuna Pasta in Red Sauce

How to make Tomato and Ricotta pasta

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3 Responses to Pasta alla Zozzona

  1. Michael September 11, 2023 at 1:09 PM #

    5 stars
    I made I made this tonight Vincenzo. I only had bacon, but it was fine. Sensational texture and flavor. This is yet another winner. Restaurant quality. So creamy and flavorful! We were suprised at how nice and light it was.

    • Vincenzo's Plate September 15, 2023 at 9:05 PM #

      I think bacon is a great substitute for guanciale, and it still gives the dish a delicious flavor and texture. I’m glad to hear that you thought the dish was restaurant quality. I put a lot of love and care into my recipes, and I’m always happy to hear that people enjoy them.

  2. GaiGGail Wood October 28, 2023 at 7:45 AM #

    This is delicious chef! Thank you thank you! I live in Las Vegas and I was lucky I could find pancetta 😁 All your recipes that I’ve made are fantastic!

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