Authentic Pasta alla Gricia Recipe

This Pasta alla Gricia recipe is one of the pillars of Roman pasta, along with: Spaghetti Carbonara, Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe and Amatriciana! With a creamy pecorino cheese sauce and fine Italian guanciale, you’ll love this dish!

Pasta alla Gricia — the traditional Italian way! With crispy guanciale and fine pecorino cheese

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Learn how to make this Pasta alla Gricia recipe in this video recipe, filmed in Italy:


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In Italiano? Pasta alla Gricia, Ricetta Originale


How to Make Spaghetti alla Gricia

Pasta alla Gricia, sometimes called White Amatriciana is a traditional Roman dish. This underrated Italian pasta dish featured a creamy pecorino romano sauce, black pepper and fine crispy guanciale. You definitely want to look for it in restaurants when you visit Rome!

Pasta alla Gricia is considered the child of Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe pasta and the parent of Amatriciana pasta. Adding the pecorino shredded at the end, or as a cheese sauce are both considered acceptable preparations of this traditional Italian pasta recipe!

Guanciale or Pancetta?

Guanciale is more traditional in this dish, but pancetta is ok too. Pancetta is cured pork belly, while guanciale is cured pork cheek. 

Preventing Clumpy Pecorino Cheese Sauce

Add the pecorino cheese paste off the heat to prevent a clumpy, stringy sauce

We prevent clumpy cheese sauce in three ways: using finely grated cheese, preparing the cheese paste carefully, and adding the cheese sauce to the pasta off the heat. 

It’s critical to use finely grated pecorino here. Freshly grated cheese is always tastier, but if you grate the cheese with a food processor, you may want to also pass it through a strainer to make it even finer. The finely grated cheese available in most groceries will be the perfect consistency. 

By slowly drizzling in the hot pasta water into the grated cheese, you should naturally keep the mixture above 140°F (60°C)—the temperature at which the cheese will coagulate. 

Finally, we add the cheese paste to the pasta off the heat. Once again, this is done to keep the temperature of the cheese below the point where it would start coagulating and creating clumps and strings. 


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Authentic Pasta alla Gricia Recipe

This Pasta Gricia recipe is one of the pillars of Roman pasta, along with: Carbonara, Cacio e Pepe and Amatriciana! With a creamy pecorino cheese sauce and fine Italian guanciale, you'll love this dish!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian, Mediterranean
Keyword cheesy, meat lover, pasta
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp black pepper preferably freshly ground (medium coarse)
  • 6 oz pecorino romano cheese semi-aged
  • 6 oz guanciale or pancetta
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 11 oz spaghetti or tonnarelli

Instructions

Toast the Pepper

  • Briefly toast black pepper in a dry pan over low heat—just until you start to smell it. This shouldn’t take longer than a minute. Transfer the pepper to another container and set it aside.
  • For the best flavor, freshly grind the pepper using a medium-coarse setting. Medium coarse pepper is easier to toast without over-toasting—and creating pepper gas!

Fry the Guanciale

  • Cut the guanciale into thick slices, then into 1/2 inch strips. 
  • Fry the guanciale in a dry pan over medium-low heat until the fat turns translucent. Then raise the heat a bit to crisp up the outside of the pieces. As the guanciale fries…

Partially Cook the Pasta

  • Add the pasta to boiling water and cook it for 3/4 of the cook time recommended for ‘al dente’ pasta in the package instructions. 

De-Glaze the Pan

  • When the guanciale is fried to your liking, add the white wine to de-glaze the pan. This will give the dish an extra boost of flavor, and serve to pull all of the delicious guanciale grease off the bottom of the pan and into our final sauce

Finish Cooking the Pasta

  • Add the partially cooked pasta (drained) to the skillet with the guanciale. Add a few ladles of the hot pasta water as well—and save the pasta water as we will still need it!
  • Add the black pepper to the cooking pasta. Finish cooking the pasta in the pan for the rest of the cooking time. Add a ladle of water as needed to make sure the pasta has enough to finish cooking. In the meantime…

Make the Cheese Sauce

  • To the finely grated pecorino cheese, slowly drizzle in one ladle of hot pasta water—stirring continuously! Mix until you’ve created a smooth, creamy paste. 

Finish the Pasta

  • When the pasta is cooked, remove it from the heat. Add the cheese paste to the hot pasta and mix thoroughly using a pair of tongs. This is called the ‘mantecatura’ in Italian. Serve immediately and buon appetito!

Video

Notes

Why use semi-aged pecorino?
Semi-aged cheeses melt a bit easier, resulting in an even creamier sauce.
About the author

Classic recipes from Italy and beyond. Traditional Italian Cooking and Mediterranean Diet recipes!

PIATTO™ Recipes bring traditional Italian food recipes to your table with our tested, step-by-step recipes and videos. You'll find the best Italian recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. Always tested, always delicious.

12 thoughts on “Authentic Pasta alla Gricia Recipe”


  1. Una ricetta FINALMENTE spiegata come si deve❗
    Sono un appassionato di cucina mediterranea e bramo le ricette semplici, veraci, quelle di una volta, insomma !
    E i tanto “decantati” chefs… quelli che, non sapendo più come proporre una vera/verace/tradizionale ricetta… la rivisitano continuamente.
    Con l’ovvia soddisfazione di chi non ha mai mangiato cose vere, cose che cucinava la nonna, ergo e che non capiscono un ..zzo!
    Ritornando alla ricetta suesposta, appare appetitosa di primo acchito!
    Ben spiegate le ovvie somiglianze con la più contadina “cacio e pepe” e la mondialmente blasonata carbonara !
    Carbonara purtroppo ORRIBILMENTE rovinata (specialmente dai tedeschi e ovviamente americani 🤮🤮🤮 che la propongono con pancetta affumicata e simili loro porcherie)…🤮🤮
    Detto ciò, apprezzo il modo semplice di spiegare il susseguirsi delle diverse fasi e le attenzioni riguardanti la temperatura dei diversi ingredienti 👍
    Unico neo del vid… i minuti da 2:58 fino a 4:10 sono praticamente inutili !
    Ripresa di lato che sconvolge e delude la vogliosa attenzione dello spettatore. Peccato !
    Cmq, thum-up per la genuinità del video 👍👍👍

    Reply

  2. “Great upload and perfect recipe, only thing I change is rigatoni, the short fat version, instead of spaghetti. I love it when the guanciale goes inside the rigatoni. Btw, bacon is not a good translation for guanciale, everyone knows guanciale, but if you want an anglicised word, then please consider ‘cured pork cheek’, as bacon is something totally different, it from the pork belly and normally smoked or cured, yet never with the fat content or unique taste of pork cheek. In any cases one is my most favourite pasta. I thought my 7 and 8 year old daughters how to cook it a while back, meanwhile they do a better job than me and use much less white wine, no one for the pan then one for the cook with them. 😂

    You earned a new subscriber today bonissimo”

    Reply

  3. I will look forward to trying that dish in Rome this fall!! I may attempt to make it myself this summer , while inspiring myself and hubby!
    I’ve made my own chicken parmigiana on spaghetti twice, with my own marina sauce- such great food!!! This looks more technical but yummy!

    Reply
    • Hi Kerry—Rome will be so much fun! Let us know how your attempt at making this dish turns out. Be sure to check out our other Roman recipes 🙂

      Reply
    • Hi Rebecca! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment 🙂 We get so few comments that aren’t spam :/….

      Reply

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