A simple and delicious recipe using only four ingredients. Why are the best recipes sometimes the simplest ones! Pasta alla Griciai is no exception.
Rome is renowned for four types of pasta. The carbonara, the cacio e peppe, amatriciana and this one, alla Gricia. If you like carbonara and cacio e peppe, this is a combination of the two, without the eggs.
Like any simple recipe, the secret is in the ingredients. When using so few ingredients, you need to buy the best you can afford. When choosing the pasta, rigatoni or similar is the best to use. You want those ridges, the little groves so the sauce adheres to it. The rougher the texture the better. Most artisanal pasta have that rough texture, so look for those. For the cheese, it has to be Pecorino, again chose one you like with a strong pleasing flavour, as that’s the basis to your sauce. For the meat, you could use alternatives like pancetta or bacon, however you won’t get the same taste as the Guanciale or pork cheek. The fat that’s rendered out is where all the flavour is. For the pepper, it has to be freshly cracked, and be generous. Like cacio e peppe, this pasta loves pepper!
When cooking the pasta, you can also cook it less in the pot, and longer in the pan so the pasta releases more starch. This technique is a little trickier as you must make sure your liquid has reduced by the time the pasta is cooked. It is a slightly better method, but it’s also harder, and takes more practice to get the timing and quantities right. In this version, you simply cook it al dente which is much easier, then add water until you reach the right consistency.
Try and avoid adding more ingredients, I know it’s tempting to add herbs, wine, olive oil etc. but do this recipe justice and enjoy it’s simplicity. There’s plenty of flavour as it is. Enjoy Pasta alla Gricia today, it’s so easy!