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

Barbara F. Watson

Welcome to Parla’s Pastas, a bi-weekly column by the Rome-dependent, New York Moments very best-providing cookbook creator Katie Parla. Right here you’ll find classic and motivated recipes from Italy’s 20 areas. Get ready for a carb-pushed journey through the trattorias of Rome, the kitchens of Sicily (her ancestral homeland), rural Campania, and beyond. Fireplace up a pot of h2o, and andiamo!

Gricia should be a family title. The pillar of Roman cuisine hits the superior notes of Central Italian meals with its sauce of pleasingly pungent Pecorino Romano, fat-rich guanciale, and coarsely ground black pepper. Like amatriciana and carbonara, Rome’s far better-identified pastas, gricia achieves daring taste employing amazingly number of ingredients—yet never experienced its viral minute. It is about time: Guanciale and pecorino perform guide roles, relatively than remaining muted or mellowed in the track record. 

Roman cooks claim that gricia originated in northern Lazio, deep in the Apennine mountains. Shepherds introduced city-dwellers to the dish over a century ago, and it trapped.  Certainly, it would go on to encourage Rome’s other legendary pastas: Spiked with tomato sauce, it grew to become amatriciana. Enriched with egg, it birthed carbonara. But inspite of the around the world renown of these later creations, gricia never obtained its due—even if it’s continue to a pillar of the Roman trattoria.  

These days, gricia is my go-to get at Salumeria Roscioli, a connoisseur deli and restaurant in Rome’s centro storico. There, crisp cubes of guanciale mingle with “al chiodo” (not quite al dente) rigatoni and three exclusive, aromatic varieties of black pepper. 

When I have friends in 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 in the strands as you twirl. 

Gricia alla Katie? For starters, I’m a rigatoni girl: Who can resist all those porky bits that settle inside of the tubular architecture? Guanciale-smart, I spring for rectangles, as opposed to cubes, which crisp up nicely (see observe down below). The sauce is motivated by my neighborhood, Cesare al Casaletto, a trattoria a number of blocks from my condominium. It is outstandingly silky. I replicate it at home by cooking the pasta halfway in lightly salted water to compensate for the quite salty pecorino, then include it to the pan with a ladleful of pasta water, a balanced dose of guanciale, and its flavorful rendered body fat. The vital, I’ve acquired, is to swirl the pasta as it finishes cooking to attain a best mantecatura (emulsion). To replicate and get that excellent bite, use your senses, instead than a timer, to decide when the pasta is completed and has the best chunk. Previous occur generous cranks of black pepper, and sufficient finely grated Pecorino Romano to glue it all with each other. Make it nowadays to be quickly transported to the animated trattorias of Rome no subject exactly where you are. 

Be aware: If you extravagant crisp guanciale, prepare dinner it around medium warmth and transfer it to a plate, leaving the extra fat in the pan, whilst you prepare the dish. Then include the crisp guanciale with the pasta before plating. If attainable, seek out guanciale with a basic black pepper and salt remedy, instead than 1 flavored with fennel, garlic, or chile. The dish is all about the pure taste of black pepper.


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


  1. Slash off and discard the guanciale’s seasoned crust, then reduce into ¼-inch-thick slabs. Slice each individual slab lengthwise, then slash into ¾-inch-thick strips.
  2. To a significant, cold forged-iron skillet or pan, include the guanciale and switch the warmth to medium-very low. Cook, stirring often, until eventually the excess fat renders, 10–15 minutes. Take out from the heat and established apart to interesting somewhat.
  3. In the meantime, carry a big pot of salted water (see headnote) to a boil, then  add the rigatoni and boil right up until barely al dente, a tiny much more than fifty percent of the advised cooking time on the bundle. Transfer 1 cup of the pasta cooking drinking water to the pan with the guanciale and set aside a different ½ cup.
  4. Drain the pasta, then incorporate it to the pan with the guanciale and turn the heat to medium-large. Cook, swirling the pan, until eventually the pasta is al dente and coated in sauce, 5–7 minutes. Change off the heat and stir in the black pepper and  ½ cup of the Pecorino. If the sauce is too thick, step by step add sufficient reserved pasta drinking water to make a easy, creamy sauce. Provide immediately, passing the remaining Pecorino for sprinkling.

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