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Published February 4, 2022. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
You will love this simple to prepare Pasta Alla Gricia Recipe with crispy guanciale in a tasty Pecorino Romano Sauce. This pasta dish has only four ingredients and it is beyond delicious.
Pasta Alla Gricia is 1 of the 4 classic Roman Pastas along with cacio e pepe, carbonara, and all’amatriciana. This dish consists of guanciale, pecorino Romano cheese, and pasta. It is incredibly easy to make and comes together in under 20 minutes.
While this alla Gricia is very easy to make, there are some techniques that need to be adhered to to ensure it’s a success. Take care that the cheese sauce is emulsified with the pasta water and that there are no clumps in it. Also, be sure that the cheese is finely grated; that means no big shreds.
I’m pretty positive this pasta recipe will go into your regular rotation because it’s such a tremendous last-minute meal, and it’s incredibly genuine and authentic to its Italian roots.
Pasta Alla Gricia Ingredients
- Guanciale – This cured hog jowl with spices is what is classically used.
- Cheese – Pecorino Romano is the traditional cheese in this pasta.
- Pasta – I like to use fresh spaghetti pasta, but you can use your favorite.
- Water – Hot pasta water is needed for this dish.
How to Make Pasta Alla Gricia
Follow along with these straightforward procedures to make a Pasta Alla Gricia:
Add some sliced guanciale to a medium-size saucepan over low to medium heat and cook until browned and slightly crispy.
Next, add some pasta water to the pan with the guanciale to help stop the cooking process. Turn the heat off.
Pour in some pecorino Romano cheese and mix using a rubber spatula or spoon until it is combined and emulsified. Set aside.
Boil the pasta according to its package and then add it in portions to the pan with the guanciale cheese sauce to not overload it with pasta water.
Mix using the spatula until combined, and then add on more cheese, pasta water, salt, and pepper, and continue to mix until thick and creamy.
Add to a plate and serve with more grated pecorino Romano cheese.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: This recipe is meant to be served as soon as it is done cooking.
How to Store: Cover and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. This will not freeze well.
How to Reheat: Add the desired amount of pasta to a medium-size pan over low heat along with ¼ cup of water and heat until creamy and hot.
Chef Notes + Tips
- You should use Fresh Pasta Dough Recipe, but if not, you can easily swap out for dried.
- If you do not have access to guanciale you can substitute for pancetta or bacon. It will not be classic, but it will still be delicious.
- The main reason there are clumps of cheese in the pasta is because the pan gets to hot. Be sure to stir constantly and make sure to turn the heat off if the cheese begins to clump. You can remove the clumps by carefully bringing down the temperature.
- If pecorino Romano is not available, then substitute with Parmesan.
- Guanciale can be different depending on who made it. If there are not a lot of spices on it, feel free to add a ¼ teaspoon of crushed black pepper to it while sauteing it to brown.
- You may need more pasta water so ensure it stays creamy and the pasta noodles don’t suck up too much of the sauce.
More Pasta Recipes
Pasta Alla Gricia Recipe
- 1 ¼ cups finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 4 ounces guanciale, cut into thin slices
- 8 ounces of hot pasta water
- 8 ounces fresh spaghetti pasta
- salt and pepper to taste
- Divide the cheese into 3 piles. A large pile, a medium size pile, and a small size pile. The sizes of each do not need to be perfect. Set aside.
- Add the sliced guanciale to a medium size saucepan over low to medium heat and cook until browned and slightly crispy. Move it around using a spoon or spatula to ensure it does not burn.
- Next, add a ½ cup, or 4 ounces, of hot pasta water to the pan with the guanciale to help stop the cooking process a bit. Turn the heat off.
- Pour in the large pile of cheese and mix using a rubber spatula or spoon until it is combined and emulsified. Set aside.
- Boil the pasta according to its package and then add it in potions to the pan with the guanciale cheese sauce so to not overload it with too much pasta water.
- Mix using the spatula until combined and then add the medium size pile of cheese along with ½ cup more, or 4 ounces, of pasta water, salt, and pepper, and continue to mix until thick and creamy.
- Add to a plate and serve by garnishing with the last small size pile of pecorino Romano cheese.