Spaghetti Alla Gricia

The key ingredient in Spaghetti alla Gricia is guanciale, cured pork jowl. Guanciale is also traditionally used in the classic Roman Pasta dishes, Bucatini all’Amatriciana and Spaghetti alla Carbonara. Since guanciale is not easy to find outside of Rome and the Lazio region in Italy, and until recently impossible here in the U.S., substituting pancetta for the guanciale in those dishes has become commonplace. However, I would not make that subsitution with this dish, because guanciale is the centerpiece here, and it would not be the same. Spaghetti alla Gricia, is sometimes referred to as Amatriciana in Bianco, which means White Amatriciana, because it is made without tomatoes.

Serves 4-6

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces guanciale, cut into1/4 inch slices, then chopped coarsely
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound spaghetti
1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large sautè pan over medium heat. Add the guanciale and the hot pepper and sautè until guanciale is crisp. Remove from the heat.
  2. Bring a large pot of liberally salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook uncovered over high heat until al dente.
  3. Place the pan with the guanciale back over medium heat. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with ½ cup of the Pecorino Romano. Stir the pasta vigorously until guanciale and cheese are well distributed.
  4. Serve immediately with remaining Pecorino Romano on the side.