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Pasta alla Gricia Recipe

Pasta alla Gricia: A Simple and Delicious Italian Classic

Who can resist the allure of a plate of perfectly cooked pasta, coated in a rich and savory sauce? If you’re a fan of Italian cuisine, then you’ve probably heard of Pasta alla Gricia. This traditional Roman dish is a true culinary masterpiece, known for its simplicity and incredible flavors. In this article, we’ll explore the origins of Pasta alla Gricia, its key ingredients, and how to make it at home. So grab your apron and let’s dive into the world of this mouthwatering Italian classic!

The Story Behind Pasta alla Gricia

Like many beloved dishes in Italian cuisine, Pasta alla Gricia has humble origins. It originated in the region of Lazio, which is home to Rome, and was traditionally made by shepherds who herded their flocks in the mountains. With limited access to fresh ingredients, they relied on pantry staples to create a satisfying meal. Pasta alla Gricia was born out of necessity, but it has since become a beloved favorite both in Italy and around the world.

The Key Ingredients

One of the things that sets Pasta alla Gricia apart is its simplicity. The dish only requires a handful of ingredients, but when combined, they create a symphony of flavors. The main ingredients of Pasta alla Gricia are:

  • Pancetta: This Italian cured meat adds a depth of flavor and richness to the dish.
  • Pecorino Romano: A sharp and salty sheep’s milk cheese that brings a delightful tanginess to the sauce.
  • Black Pepper: Freshly ground black pepper adds a subtle heat and complements the other flavors.
  • Pasta: While the choice of pasta is flexible, a long, thin variety like spaghetti or bucatini works best.

Making Pasta alla Gricia at Home

Now that we know the key ingredients, let’s dive into the process of making Pasta alla Gricia at home. It’s a straightforward recipe that can be whipped up in no time. Here’s how:

  1. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Remember to generously salt the water for added flavor.
  2. In a large skillet, cook the pancetta until crispy and golden brown. Remove it from the pan and set it aside, leaving the rendered fat behind.
  3. Add freshly ground black pepper to the rendered fat in the skillet and give it a quick stir to release its aroma.
  4. Drain the cooked pasta, reserving a small amount of the cooking water.
  5. Transfer the pasta to the skillet and toss it with the rendered fat and black pepper.
  6. Add the crispy pancetta back to the skillet and toss everything together to combine.
  7. Remove the skillet from the heat and sprinkle generously with grated Pecorino Romano.
  8. Give everything a final toss, allowing the heat of the pasta to melt the cheese slightly.
  9. Serve immediately and enjoy your homemade Pasta alla Gricia!

FAQs about Pasta alla Gricia

1. Can I use bacon instead of pancetta?

While traditional Pasta alla Gricia calls for pancetta, you can certainly use bacon as a substitute. Just keep in mind that the flavors may differ slightly.

2. Is Pecorino Romano the only cheese I can use?

Pecorino Romano is the classic choice for Pasta alla Gricia, but you can experiment with other hard cheeses like Parmesan or Grana Padano.

3. Can I add vegetables to Pasta alla Gricia?

While Pasta alla Gricia is traditionally made without vegetables, you can certainly add some if you like. Sautéed mushrooms or wilted spinach can be delicious additions.

4. What wine pairs well with Pasta alla Gricia?

A dry white wine, such as a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or a light Chardonnay, pairs beautifully with the flavors of Pasta alla Gricia.

5. Can I make Pasta alla Gricia ahead of time?

Pasta alla Gricia is best enjoyed immediately after cooking. However, you can prepare the pancetta and grated cheese in advance to save time.

6. Can I freeze leftover Pasta alla Gricia?

It’s not recommended to freeze Pasta alla Gricia, as the texture of the pasta may become mushy upon thawing.

7. What other Italian pasta dishes should I try?

If you’re a fan of Pasta alla Gricia, you might also enjoy other Italian classics like Carbonara, Amatriciana, or Cacio e Pepe.

8. Can I add additional herbs or spices to Pasta alla Gricia?

While Pasta alla Gricia is traditionally a simple dish, feel free to experiment with herbs like parsley or spices like chili flakes to add your own twist.

In Conclusion

Pasta alla Gricia is a true testament to the beauty of simplicity in cooking. With just a handful of ingredients, you can create a dish that delights the senses and transports you to the heart of Italy. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a beginner in the kitchen, this classic Roman recipe is sure to impress. So next time you’re craving a taste of Italy, gather your ingredients, follow the steps, and savor the pure joy of homemade Pasta alla Gricia!

Pasta alla Gricia Recipe compressed image1

Pasta alla Gricia Recipe

No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course dinner
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4


  • 8 ounces (225g) of guanciale , which is cured pork jowl, in a single piece
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) of extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 ounces (340g) of rigatoni
  • 2 ounces (60g) of Pecorino Romano cheese , finely grated
  • Additional Pecorino Romano cheese for serving


  • Freeze the guanciale for at least 15 minutes, but no more than 45 minutes, to make it easier to slice.
  • Using a sharp chef's knife, slice the partially frozen guanciale into 1/4-inch-thick planks, then cut the planks into 1/4-inch-thick batons (lardons).
  • In a large 12-inch stainless steel skillet, heat oil over medium-low heat until it shimmers.
  • Add the guanciale to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fat has rendered and the guanciale is golden brown and crisp (about 15 minutes).
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer the guanciale to a plate and set it aside.
  • Reduce the heat to low and bloom about 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper in the rendered guanciale fat until the pepper foams and becomes aromatic (about 1 minute). Remove the skillet from heat.
  • In a Dutch oven or medium pot, bring 3 quarts of water and 2 teaspoons of kosher salt to a boil over high heat.
  • Set a colander inside a large heatproof bowl in the sink.
  • Add the rigatoni to the boiling water and cook, stirring frequently during the first minute to prevent sticking.
  • After the pasta has cooked for 4 minutes and 30 seconds, transfer 2 cups (475ml) of starchy
Keyword Italian, Italian Cuisine, Italian-American Cuisine, Pancetta & Guanciale, Pasta Mains, Pastas, Pork, Quick Dinners, Southern European, Valentine's Day
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Hi, I am April & Welcome to my food blog!

Thank you for visiting my blog. We share delicious recipes to make your meals nourishing and fun. Experimenting in the kitchen and cooking is my joy!


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