Pasta Alla Gricia

Pasta Alla Gricia

With deep roots in the Lazio region of Italy, this pasta dish is a precursor to the more familiar Carbonara and Amatriciana. Using just a handful of quality ingredients, Pasta alla Gricia delivers a symphony of flavours with minimal effort.


  • 4 oz. guanciale, chopped into 1/4″ pieces
  • 3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups water
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 8 oz. spaghetti
  • 1 1/2 cups finely grated Pecorino Romano, divided, plus more for serving

Method of cooking:

Place the pieces of guanciale in a large frying pan.

Cook over a medium heat until the fat is rendered and the guanciale is crisp, about 5-7 minutes.

Remove the guanciale from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside, leaving the rendered fat in the pan.

Add the freshly ground black pepper to the pan with the rendered fat.

Toast the pepper for about 1 minute until fragrant, taking care not to burn it.

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan.

Add the kosher salt to the boiling water, then add the spaghetti.

Cook the spaghetti until just al dente, about 1-2 minutes less than the package instructions.

Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain the spaghetti.

Add the drained spaghetti, toasted pepper and rendered fat to the frying pan.

Toss to coat the spaghetti with the fat and pepper.

Add 1 cup of the finely grated Pecorino Romano to the frying pan.

Gradually add the reserved pasta water, a little at a time, tossing constantly to create a creamy sauce.

Continue to cook the pasta in the frying pan, tossing, until the sauce thickens and coats the pasta, about 2-3 minutes.

If the sauce gets too thick, add a little more pasta water.

Return the crispy guanciale to the frying pan and toss to combine.

Serve the pasta on plates or in bowls.

Sprinkle with the remaining Pecorino Romano and extra freshly ground black pepper.

Serve immediately with extra Pecorino Romano on the side.

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