Pasta alla Gricia is one of the most famous dishes of the Lazio cuisine, considered the ancestor of Pasta all’Amatriciana.
In common with the amatriciana recipe, in fact, there is the use of the guanciale and the Pecorino Romano. The main difference, however, lies in tomato sauce, absent in Pasta alla Gricia because its origin would even precede the importation of tomato in Europe. It is said Pasta alla Gricia was invented by the shepherds of Lazio, who with the few ingredients that they had available on their return from the pastures prepared a dish as simple but just as tasty and substantial. You can choose to combine a savory condiment with a long pasta shape like Bucatini and tonnarelli, or short as rigatoni!
For the Pasta alla Gricia recipe, boil plenty of salted water in a large pot.
Cut the cheek lard into strips and brown it in a large pan for about 2-3 minutes to release its fat, coloring and becoming crisp. Do not add oil or butter. To be joined together a piece of chili pepper.
When the water boils, cook the pasta al dente, then drain it, with a skimmer and transfer it directly into the pan of the cheek lard.
Skip the pasta together with the dressing, for a few seconds, just long enough to mix well.
Sprinkle with about 100 grams of grated pecorino and let it melt slightly.
Transfer the pasta into a bowl, season with the remaining pecorino, plenty of freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately.
It is advisable to consume immediately. It can be kept in the fridge for 1 day at most, but must be reheated before consuming, better in a pan with a bit of olive oil. Freezing is not recommended.
The bacon should be cooked in an already hot pan, over medium heat, checking the cooking from time to time to avoid burning it. Do not add oil or butter.
If you use a non-peppery cheek on the outside, add a little grated black pepper to taste during cooking.