Recipe – Italian Pasta Alla Gricia Spaghetti

I have tried quite many classic Italian pasta dishes, and I must admit pasta alla Gricia ranks high on my list. The beauty of this delicious dish from Lazio is that it’s easy and quick to prepare at home with just a few ingredients.

Basic Recipe Information

Approximate prep time:

  • 7 minutes

Approximate cooking time:

  • 25 minutes


  • 5 servings

Required Equipment

  • Cooking pot
  • Non-stick pan


  • 1 1/4 pounds dried spaghetti
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 pound grated pecorino Romano cheese
  • 10 ounces cured pork jowl (guanciale) or bacon sliced into thin pieces, preferably about 1/4 inch wide
  • 1-2 tablespoon olive oil

Preparation Directions

  • Add spaghetti into a large cooking pot with boiling salted water. You should let it cook for about 10 minutes or until it has a firm, slightly chewy texture. Make sure to stir occasionally. Also, consider adding olive oil to prevent your spaghetti from sticking together.
  • As the pasta cooks heat the non-stick pan. Applying medium heat, cook your guanciale for approximately 7 minutes. It should turn tender and golden within this time.
  • Take one and a half ladle of pasta water from the cooking pot. Add it to the pan while stirring. The fat released will combine with the pasta water, forming a sauce.
  • Once you’ve cooked your pasta until al dente (approximately 8 to 10 minutes), make sure you reserve some of the pasta water. 1/2 cup is just enough. You can proceed to drain the pasta after you’ve collected the cooking water. Shake it well to remove any excess water, and then transfer it to the non-stick pan using tongs.
  • Mix the contents on the pan while adding the reserved pasta water, a little amount at a time as you see fit. You can turn off the heat at this point.
  • Next, add half of the black pepper and grated pecorino Romano cheese to your pasta. Toss the contents to achieve a thick and creamy sauce. Your pasta is now ready!

How To Serve And Garnish Italian Pasta Alla Gricia Spaghetti

Pasta alla Gricia is best served as soon as it’s ready. Just divide equal amounts of pasta between 5 plates and garnish with the other remaining half of pepper and pecorino Romano cheese.

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