Pasta alla Gricia: Lazio’s Rustic Pasta Delight

Pasta alla Gricia is a classic Roman dish that showcases the region's love for simplicity and the rich flavors of Pecorino Romano cheese and guanciale (cured pork jowl). This hearty and savory pasta dish is a true taste of Lazio's culinary heritage, and is one of the “Four Classic” Roman pastas!  It can be made with your choice of spaghetti, or Rigatoni.
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Total Time 30 mins
Course Dinner
Servings 4 servings



  • Prepare the Pasta:
    Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a rolling boil. Add a generous pinch of salt to the boiling water.
    Cook the Rigatoni according to the package instructions until they reach al dente. It's essential to slightly undercook the pasta as it will finish cooking in the sauce.
  • Render the Guanciale:
    While the pasta is cooking, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat.
    Add the diced guanciale to the skillet, and gently sauté it until it becomes golden and crispy. The fat from the guanciale will render, creating a flavorful base for the sauce.
  • Create the Sauce:
    Once the guanciale is crispy and golden, remove the skillet from heat. Remove any excess fat if necessary, leaving enough to coat the pasta.
    Sprinkle a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper into the skillet with the guanciale. The pepper adds a delightful kick to the dish, so feel free to adjust the quantity to your taste.
  • Finish the Dish:
    When the pasta is al dente, use a pair of tongs to transfer it directly from the boiling water into the skillet with the guanciale and pepper.
    Toss the pasta in the skillet, coating it with the rendered fat and pepper.
    Sprinkle a generous amount of grated Pecorino Romano cheese over the pasta and toss it again to create a creamy and flavorful sauce. If the sauce seems too thick, you can add a splash of pasta cooking water to achieve the desired consistency.
  • Serve and Enjoy:
    Transfer the Pasta alla Gricia to serving plates or bowls.
    Finish with an extra sprinkle of Pecorino Romano and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
    Serve immediately while it's piping hot, and savor the rich, smoky flavors of Lazio in every bite.
    Pasta alla Gricia is a true embodiment of the Lazio region's culinary traditions, where simple yet high-quality ingredients come together to create a memorable and satisfying dish. Buon appetito!
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