What do you get if you take the eggs out of a carbonara or add guanciale to a cacio e pepe? This Pasta alla Gricia may be my favourite of the Roman classics. Jordon x
250g Guanciale or Pancetta
80g Pecorino Romano
1. Place a large pan of water onto boil, add salt until it tastes slightly salty.
2. Using the guanciale or pancetta straight from the fridge will make it easier to cut. Slice into ¼ inch-thick lardons and set aside.
3. Add your pasta to the boiling water. Whilst the pasta cooks, place a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the guanciale. If using pancetta, add a drizzle of olive oil too.
4. Grate the pecorino into a bowl. Take a few tbsp of the pasta water and add them to the cheese, then mix into a paste.
5. Cook the guanciale for 5 to 7 mins until it’s golden brown and a good amount of the fat has rendered out. Add a tsp of ground black pepper during the last minute of cooking.
6. By this point, your pasta should still be only three-quarters of the way cooked. Add a big ladleful of the cooking water to the pan with the guanciale before draining and add the pasta (reserve another mug of the pasta cooking water).
7. Toss continuously to emulsify the pasta water and fat from the guanciale until you have a creamy starchy mixture. Add the cheese and continue to mix and toss, adding more water as needed until you have a glossy sauce.
8. Serve with a little more black pepper.
Tip: Guanciale is cured pork cheek, which you can find in most Italian delis. If you can’t get hold of it, use good quality pancetta instead. Similarly, if you can’t find pecorino Romano, sub in parmesan.