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Pasta alla Gricia with guanciale and pecorino romano

Pasta alla Gricia

Recipe closely adapted from Katie Parla and Kristina Gill, who adapted from Claudio Gargioli, the chef (and owner's son) at Armando al Pantheon. Gargioli uses spaghetti, but I am not a fan of spaghetti, and I was out of all other long, skinny shaped pasta. I thought it worked perfectly well with this torchietti shaped pasta (<-scroll down on page to find) which I already had on hand (for what it is worth, Rustichella is my favorite brand of pasta when I am recreating traditional Italian recipes). You might be tempted to substitute American bacon or Parmesan cheese--while those might be tasty, they will not taste like the pasta in Rome.
Author TheSpicedLife


  • 1 lb pasta of choice
  • 1 t extra virgin olive oil
  • 7 oz guanciale cut into 1 1/2 inch strips about 1/2 inch wide
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (as long as it is dry and you like to drink it it should be fine)
  • 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water. Cook to al dente--this pasta will also cook in the sauce, so you do not want it too soft to start with. Reserve the cooking water.
  2. Using a large, heavy skillet (I used stainless steel), heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the guanciale and cook, stirring to encourage it to brown evenly. This should take around 8 minutes.
  3. Add the white wine and cook for another minute.
  4. Add about a scant cup of the pasta cooking water to the pan and bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring vigorously. Add the pasta along with another scant cup of pasta cooking water. Keep stirring vigorously. A thick sauce should form--add more water if necessary. The starch in the pasta water and fat from the bacon will make a kind of white sauce, if you are familiar with making white sauces before adding cheese when making macaroni and cheese.
  5. Turn the heat off (remove from burner if using electric) and add 3/4 of the grated cheese. Mix the cheese completely into the sauce--it will melt and form a cheese sauce. Taste for salt (probably not necessary if you salt your pasta water the way I do) and freshly ground black pepper.
  6. Serve immediately, sprinkled with the remaining grated Pecorino Romano. Like all pasta and cheese dishes, it is at its silkiest best fresh off the skillet.