Chefs' Recipes

Mezze maniche alla gricia

Like a cross between a cacio e pepe and a carbonara, gricia is one of the great four Roman pasta sauces. This recipe by Santo Palato's Sarah Cicolini is a knockout, and it only requires four ingredients.
Mezze maniche alla griciaBen Dearnley
4 - 6

“In Rome, gricia is just as famous as carbonara or cacio e pepe,” says Sarah Cicolini, head chef and co-owner and Rome’s Santo Palato. “It’s got all the classic Roman ingredients: guanciale, Pecorino Romano and black pepper.”



1.Dry-roast peppercorns in a small frying pan over low heat, swirling until very fragrant (5 minutes). Cool, then coarsely grind with a mortar and pestle. Combine with Pecorino Romano.
2.Cook guanciale in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fat renders and guanciale is crisp (7 minutes). Leave guanciale in pan with 2 tbsp fat and reserve 1 tbsp fat separately.
3.Cook pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water until just short of al dente (2 minutes less than the time on packet instructions). Drain, reserving 1 litre pasta water.
4.Return pan with fat and guanciale to medium heat. Add pasta and a ladleful of pasta water, then increase heat to high and stir constantly, adding pasta water as needed until pasta is al dente (2 minutes). Remove pan from heat and gradually stir in pecorino mixture, reserving a little extra to serve. Add reserved fat, and stir constantly until emulsified, adding a little more pasta water if needed. Serve immediately topped with remaining pecorino mixture.

Mezze maniche, a short tubular pasta, is available from Italian grocers. Guanciale, cured pork cheek, is available from Italian butchers and delicatessens.

Drink suggestion: Juicy young Dolcetto. Drink suggestion by Max Allen.


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