Pasta alla gricia is one of the most famous dishes of Lazio cuisine, considered the ancestor of pasta all’amatriciana. In common with the amatriciana recipe, in fact, there is the use of bacon and Pecorino Romano cheese. The main difference, however, is the tomato sauce, absent in pasta alla gricia because its origin is thought to predate the importation of tomatoes into Europe.
It is said that pasta alla gricia was invented by the shepherds of Lazio, who, with the few ingredients they had when they returned from the pastures, prepared a dish so simple but so tasty and substantial. You can choose to add to this tasty sauce a long pasta format such as bucatini and tonnarelli, or short such as rigatoni!
- Rigatoni 320g
- Bacon (already peppered) 250 g
- Pecorino romano grating cheese 60 g
- Salt to taste
To prepare the pasta alla gricia, you must first put on the fire a pan full of water which will be used to cook the pasta. At this point, take the bacon and cut it into slices 1 cm thick. Then, separate any rind present (you can keep it in the refrigerator and reuse it in other recipes, such as soups) and obtain strips about half a centimeter thick. In an already hot pan, pour the bacon, without adding any other fat; simmer over medium heat for about ten minutes until golden and crispy, being careful not to burn it. In the meantime, the water will have reached its boiling point, add salt and cook the pasta; while the pasta cooks, finely grate the Pecorino. When the pasta is about 2 minutes from the end of cooking, slow down the cooking of the guanciale by pouring a ladle of the pasta cooking water (the cooking of the guanciale will stop and the starch released by the pasta will create a pleasant cream). Shake the pan a little to remove the pieces of guanciale.
At this point, the pasta is cooked, drain it directly into the sauce, keeping the cooking water. Sauté for about 1 minute, shaking the pan and stirring. Then remove the pan from the heat, sprinkle with a third of the grated Pecorino and add a little cooking water if necessary.
Stir and stir the pasta again; you will notice that a tasty creamy mixture will have been created. You can put the pasta alla gricia on plates and garnish each plate with the rest of the Pecorino.
Storage and Tips
It is advisable to eat it immediately. If you prefer pasta alla gricia, it can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 day. Freezing is not recommended.
The guanciale should be cooked in a preheated pan over medium heat, checking the cooking from time to time to avoid burning it. If you are using a guanciale that is not peppered on the outside, add a grating of black pepper to taste while cooking.