Gricia or Pasta alla Gricia is a type of an Italian pasta dish prepared neither with white or red sauce but instead it’s a simple concoction of pasta served with Pecorino Romano and Guanciale.
We all grew up with a pasta dish that is either red or white sauce based, unless you are Italian where they consider it like Asians prepare with rice, where pasta can be served with anything. While these two sauces, tomato and cream was quite popular and the mainstream sauces, have you wondered is there something in between, a pasta that is served with a different sauce? That was one of my questions when I started to cook and since then I tried to research on these dishes which brings me to pasta dishes like Pesto, Aglio e Olio, Red Wine Pasta, white bean and the latest one which is the Pasta alla Gricia or simply known as Gricia.
Pasta alla Gricia or Gricia is also called as White Amatriciana because many believe that the origins of this dish was in a town called Grisciano, in the region of Lazio which is close to Amatrice, the place where Pasta all ‘Amatriciana was born. It was said that during those times when this pasta was invented tomatoes had not been brought to the region yet and this was the way to make pasta, just with cheese and salted pork.
It’s one of the simplest and easiest pasta to prepare, with just simple ingredients such as pasta, Pecorino Romano and guanciale is all you need. Having said that, don’t find alternatives for the ingredients as this is what makes the dish delicious, the pungent cheese and the fatty salty preserved pork jowl gives to much flavours to this pasta you don’t need anything else.
Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed pan, add guanciale then cook until brown on all sides. Once cooked remove from pan then set aside, leaving the oil from the pan.
Cook pasta according to half of the time indicated in the packet instructions, drain pasta then keep some of the boiling liquid.
Back to the pan with oil, turn heat to medium then add 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid to the pan, gently swirl pan and let the mixture emulsify as it starts to boil. Once liquid starts to thicken add pasta, then toss it with the sauce. Gradually add t 3/4 cups of the reserved cooking liquid then continue to cook until pasta is al dente and the sauce becomes thick.
Increase heat to medium high, add the guanciale back together with the grated Pecorino Romano. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, toss well to combine then serve topped with more Pecorino Romano.