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This Easy Roman Classic Pasta Alla Gricia Recipe Is Great

This Roman Classic Pasta alla Gricia recipe is simple to make and with delicious flavors that you will want to add to your recipe collection of pasta dinners.

Roman Classic Pasta Alla Gricia Recipe - Finished


Pasta alla Gricia is one of the four famous pastas of Rome and is the simplest to make because of the few ingredients and simple techniques that are needed to make this amazing dish. I would describe this as a cross between Cacio e Pepe and Carbonara, but with a slight variation. It took me a while to write this recipe because even though it is easy and delicious, it is probably my fourth favorite of the Roman pasta recipes, with Carbonara being my favorite. For completeness and simplicity, you should check out this recipe and decide for yourself where this ranks among the four classics.

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Pasta Alla Gricia Ingredient Descriptions and Recommendations

What Is Guanciale?

This is not the first Roman recipe I’ve written about that uses guanciale, but I continue to be excited to need to buy guanciale because of how delicious I know it will be. If you are unfamiliar with guanciale, it is cured pork cheek that has been salted and rubbed with spices. It is an amazing ingredient that is foundational here in Rome.

Roman Classic Pasta Alla Gricia Recipe - Guanciale


Three of the four Roman classic pasta dishes (Amatriciana, Carbonara and this Gricia) use guanciale, and after you taste it, you will understand why it is so popular. However, if you watch enough YouTube and various cooking shows, you will hear “cooks” say that you can substitute pancetta or bacon, but this just isn’t so. I know from first hand experience that finding guanciale outside of a “Little Italy” section of a bigger city can be challenging, but it is not the same and it is worth the extra effort to find it.

Is Pecorino Romano Required?

Apart from the fact that the classic recipe for Pasta alla Gricia calls for using Pecorino Romano cheese, this hard, salty sheep’s milk cheese is a delicious addition that pairs amazingly well with the flavorful guanciale. I know that Parmigiano Reggiano is easier to find, but it just isn’t right and you should try to find this authentic Roman cheese in a block that you can finely grate yourself.

Mixing Bowls

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Roman Classic Pasta Alla Gricia Recipe - Mezze Maniche

Mezze Maniche

What Is Mezze Maniche Pasta?

Literally, mezze maniche translates to half-sleeve (think: short sleeve) and it is a short tube pasta that holds the sauce well and is the classic pasta to use with this dish. There is a little flexibility here, but only a little. The important elements are a short, large tube pasta, extruded through a bronze die that will hold the sauce and guanciale. If you can’t find it, Rigatoni is an acceptable substitute, but try to find the half-sleeve pasta.

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Frequently Asked Questions Of Gricia

What Is Pasta Alla Gricia Made Of?

The Pasta alla Gricia ingredients are few and simple. It contains pasta, guanciale, cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. The specific ingredients are important not to substitute, so the most difficult part of making Pasta alla Gricia might be finding the right ingredients.

Roman Classic Pasta Alla Gricia Recipe - Few Ingredients

Few Ingredients

Where Did Gricia Come From?

The recipe for Gricia originated in the countryside around Rome, in the town of Grisciano. This is similar to the other 4 famous Rome pastas and it relies on similar, overlapping ingredients. Pecorino Romano cheese, like Cacio e Pepe and Guanciale, like Amatriciana and Carbonara.

What Are The 4 Famous Pasta Dishes In Rome?

Pasta alla Gricia rounds out the 4 famous pasta recipes from Rome that you need to experience on your next visit to the Eternal City. The other pasta are Cacio e Pepe, Amatriciana and Carbonara.

Roman Classic Pasta Alla Gricia Recipe - Pecorino Romano

Pecorino Romano

What’s The Difference Between Carbonara And Gricia Pasta?

If you want to compare Pasta Alla Gricia Vs Carbonara, is it very simple because there are only two major differences. Carbonara adds egg yolks to the cheese mixture and Carbonara uses a mix of Parmigiano Reggiano and Pecorino Romano cheeses. Apart from these differences, you will certainly notice a similarity between the two.

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Pasta alla Gricia Recipe

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Servings: 4-6

Pasta alla Gricia Ingredients

  • 1 Lb. (400 grams) of dried Mezze Maniche (or Rigatoni) Pasta
  • 8 oz. (250 grams) of Guanciale
  • 2 oz. (60 grams) of grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
  • Salt and Black Pepper to taste
Roman Classic Pasta Alla Gricia Recipe - Guanciale Batons

Guanciale Batons

Cooking Instructions

  1. Slice guanciale into batons, removing the hard outer edge.
  2. Add the guanciale to a sauté pan and sauté until brown but not too crunchy. When done, remove meat from the pan and set aside on a pepper towel, leaving the rendered fat in the pan.
  3. Bring pasta water to a boil and add salt.
  4. When boiling, add the Mezze Maniche pasta to the boiling water and stir regularly until al dente.
  5. While the pasta is cooking, grate the Pecorino Romano cheese and place in a small bowl.
  6. Add a ladle of pasta water to cheese and stir it to make a sauce.
  7. Add water to the pan with rendered fat and stir to make creamy emulsion.
  8. Add the al dente pasta to the pan, stirring and add more pasta water if needed to maintain a sauce consistency.
  9. Take the pan off the fire and add cheese to the pan and mix thoroughly, like Cacio e Pepe.
  10. Add the cooked guanciale back to pan and add ground black pepper.
Roman Classic Pasta Alla Gricia Recipe - Ready To Eat

Alla Gricia

Serving Suggestions

Serve the pasta while it is hot and you can add a little more Pecorino Romano cheese to the bowl, depending on taste. This can be considered a first course, followed by a protein course, and can be served with bread and a dry white wine.

Other Roman Pasta Recipes That Might Interest You

If you enjoyed this Roman classic Pasta alla Gricia recipe, here are some of the other fantastic Roman pasta recipes that you might want to try:

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