Pasta alla Gricia

When I go to our local Italian store, the nice people working there always ask me what I plan to do with the guanciale I buy. It leads me to wonder if people don’t often buy it, because they don’t know what to do with it. I really like the taste of guanciale– it’s sweeter in taste than bacon or pancetta– so I’m always looking for new ways to use it. Here’s a great way via Rachel Eats.

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  • 450 g spaghetti [about 1 lb]
  • 1 tbsp lard (strutto) or olive oil
  • 150 g aged guanciale [about 1/3 lb] [Cut the guanciale (or have it sliced) like bacon, horizontally, then cut into smaller strips vertically.]
  • 150 g  aged pecorino romano, grated [about 1/3 lb]
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  1. Cook the pasta in plenty of well salted boiling water.
  2. Meanwhile place the guanciale in a cold sauté pan with the lard or olive oil and place over medium heat. Slowly sauté the guanciale. When the guanciale is soft, pink and translucent and rendered its fat (think, like bacon), add a small splash of water from the cooking pasta
  3. When the pasta is al dente, set aside a cup of pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan, then turn up the heat and listen for some sizzle. Toss the pasta vigorously, coating it with the guanciale and rendered fat.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and add three quarters of the the grated pecorino romano cheese and the black pepper, toss vigorously, and add another splash of the reserved pasta cooking water if necessary to bring the ingredients together into a soft creamy muddle.
  5. Divide between four warm bowls, scatter over the rest of the pecorino and serve immediately.
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