Pasta alla Giricia

Pasta alla Gricia

Pasta alla Gricia

Normaly Pasta alla Gricia is made with pancetta or guanciale but they are hard to get and kind of funky tasting.  We use bacon as it is easier to get and more familiar to us.  The recipe has only 5 ingredients but the instructions are very specific.  Follow them closely.  If you use too much water when you boil your pasta there will not be enough starch to make the sauce emulsify and it will be greasy.  Also, grate the cheese as fine as you possibly can to make it melt easier without clumping.

8 oz bacon, thick cut is best
1 tbl olive oil
1 lb rigatoni
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 oz Pecorino Romano cheese, measured by weight, very finely grated

Cut the bacon into pieces.  Add the bacon to a cold Dutch oven with the olive oil.  Turn the heat to medium low and cook the bacon for 10 to 12 minutes until the fat renders and the bacon browns but does not turn crisp.  When the bacon is cooked remove it from the Dutch oven and put it on a paper towel lined plate.  Pour the rendered fat from the bacon into a measuring cup.  Reserve ⅓ cup of the rendered fat.

While the bacon cooks, bring 2 quarts of unsalted water to a boil, add the pasta, and cook for 10 minutes.  The amount of water and no salt is important, as you will be using some of the pasta water later in this dish.  Two quarts makes the starch content of the water perfect and there is enough salt in the bacon and the cheese.  Put a colander in a bowl so you can save the pasta water and drain the pasta.  Pour 2 cups of the pasta water into a measuring cup.  Let let the pasta sit in the colander while you do the next steps.

Pour the reserved, measured rendered fat and the reserved, measured pasta water into the Dutch oven, add the pepper, stir well and bring this to a simmer.  Simmer uncovered for 6 minutes.  Pour this sauce into a measuring cup and retain 1 cups of it.

After you have measured 1 cups of the sauce, pour it back into the Dutch oven then add the pasta, bacon, and cheese.  Turn the heat to low and cook while constantly stirring until the cheese melts and the sauce turns creamy.  Serve.