"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 tbsp black peppercorns
- 400 gm (5 cups) Pecorino Romano
- 320 gm guanciale (see note), cut into lardons
- 500 gm dried mezze maniche (see note)
- 1Dry-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.
- 2Cook 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.
- 3Cook 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.
- 4Return 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.