The Italian region of Lazio (which is the region around Rome) has some of the best simple pasta dishes: Spaghetti alla Carbonara, Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe, Spaghetti all’Amatriciana, and Spaghetti alla Gricia. The ingredients that all of them have in common are spaghetti, pecorino romano cheese, and freshly ground black pepper. Three of them have guanciale, two of them use the pasta cooking water, one has eggs, and one has tomatoes.
I had not blogged about alla Gricia yet, which is also known as Amatriciana ‘in Bianco’ because it is the same as Amatriciana but without the tomatoes. The recipe for alla Gricia is very simple: spaghetti, guanciale, pecorino romano, salt, and black pepper. It is not only very simple but also very tasty!
Guanciale is cured pork jowl, which outside of Italy is difficult to find and therefore substituted with pancetta (cured pork belly). I made Spaghetti alla Gricia to try out my first homemade pancetta and it was delicious. Perhaps next time I’ll make my own guanciale, which is very similar to making pancetta.
150 grams (.33 lbs) spaghetti
125 grams (.28 lbs) guanciale or pancetta, diced
75 grams (3 oz) freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
freshly ground black pepper
The ‘flashbacks’ also help to refresh my own memory, because I’ve just been reminded to make this delicious almond cake again.