Pasta alla Gricia

Pasta alla Gricia

This pasta alla gricia recipe packs a real flavour punch thanks to the rich guanciale and Pecorino Romano. This dish makes use of the pasta cooking water, emulsifying with the gorgeous guanciale fat to create a rich and decidedly porky sauce.


  • 200g/6 oz guanciale or pancetta
  • 400g/8oz Bucatini or your favourite pasta
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper, preferably ground with a mortar and pestle
  • Salt
  • 270g/3 cups Pecorino Romano
  • Extra-virgin olive oil


Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-low. Cook pancetta, stirring often, until it starts to brown and crisp, around 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente, drain, reserving 1 ½ cups pasta cooking liquid.

Add ¾ cup pasta cooking liquid to reserved skillet and season with pepper, bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, swirling often to encourage drippings and liquid to emulsify, about 1 minute. Add pasta and cook, tossing often and adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until a glossy sauce forms, 5–7 minutes.

Increase heat to medium-high. Add extra pepper and Pecorino; toss well to combine and melt cheese. Serve pasta topped with remaining Pecorino.

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