There’s really nothing better than a creamy and hearty pasta dish to really satisfy a craving. Pasta alla gricia is one of the classics that also include carbonara, amatriciana, and of course, cacio e pepe. The best part of pasta alla gricia is that it is so simple to make and only requires four ingredients. Although guanciale, cured pork jowl, might not be so common in the U.S. like it is in Italy, it makes all the difference. Of course, if you can’t find it, you can easily substitute it with thick-cut bacon or pancetta.
What You Need
4 oz. guanciale (or pancetta/bacon), but into 1/4 inch pieces
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cups water
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
8 oz. tagliatelle, or any noodle you prefer
3 oz. fresh grated Pecorino, divided
What To Do
Heat a large pan on medium-high heat and cook your pancetta until it is deeply golden. This should take about 6 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and remove the pieces to a plate, leaving the fat in the pan. Add in the pepper and mix around.
Bring water to a boil in a medium to large pot. Add the pasta and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes until it is pliable, then remove the pot from the heat.
Return the pan to the stove over medium-low heat. Add 1 3/4 of the pasta water and stir it around. Add the pasta and 1/2 cup Pecorino, making sure the pasta is coated evenly.
After the cheese is almost completely melted, add the remaining cheese in batches or 2 to 3, repeating and adding pasta water as needed to make sure the sauce stays silky. After the pasta becomes al dente, remove it from the heat, continuing to stir until the sauce is completely smooth.
Add in the cooked pancetta and serve with more Pecorino freshly grated on top.