Total time: 20 minutes

Pasta alla gricia is the forerunner of bucatini all’amatriciana, before the advent of tomatoes. In fact, at times it’s called Amatriciana bianca, as without tomato. It’s a typical dish of lazio, the Rome region, born of ingenuity by shepherds with ordinary cheap and readily available ingredients: guanciale, pecorino salt and pepper. Yet, pasta alla gricia resulted in a hearty robust nourishing dish, especially welcome in those ugly rainy or cold days.


Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 1 pound bucatini or spaghetti
  • 6 ounces guanciale (or bacon) in thick strips
  • 1/2 cup grated  pecorino romano
  • salt and pepper



In a large deep pan cook guanciale at medium- low heat until it release its fat.

Then at medium heat add a little water from the pasta in the pan with the guanciale and toss cooked bucatini into it. Mix well andIf necessary, add some more water. Add pecorino and a generous sprinkle of ground black pepper.

Turn heat off and serve.


Note: no oil needed as guanciale, or bacon has its own fat. Be careful with salt in the pasta water as guanciale and pecorino are salty.

When draining pasta, as always, reserve some water. Cook a little prior to al dente as pasta will be finished in the pan with the guanciale.

Fresh ground pepper using a peppermill  best, and coarse. You could substitute with hot red pepper.

Spaghetti and rigatoni are also often used.

More Roman Pasta Recipes

Return Home