There are four great Roman pastas, all connected: Gricia, Cacio e Pepe, Carbonara, and Amatriciana.
They each play off of the others and reveal different sides to the same concept.
Gricia is simple and focused on the luscious guanciale fat with a dusting of pecorino, while cacio e pepe loses the meat and adds more cheese and pepper for rich sauce, add an egg and keep the meat and you have indulgent carbonara, skip the egg and add tomatoes for hearty Amatriciana.
Pasta, guanciale, and pecorino are the veins that pulse through each one of these quintessentially Roman dishes. Just as Fellini examines and plays with our perception of fame culture and the cafe society, Italian cuisine can play with out perception of what a few simple ingredients can mean.
CACIO E PEPE (CHEESE AND PEPPER PASTA)
Cacio e pepe is one of the signature dishes of a unique city like Rome.
Unique is also the taste of this first course: just a few well-dosed and used ingredients are enough to have a real explosion of flavor!
- 400 grams (14 oz) of spaghetti
- 200 grams (1 cup) of grated Pecorino romano cheese
- 10 grams (2.25 tsp) of ground black pepper
- salt to taste
Cook the spaghetti in salted water and in the meantime pour the pecorino romano cheese and black pepper into a small glass or aluminum bowl.
Raise the pasta al dente (do not drain it otherwise it will lose all its cooking water!) at least 2 minutes before the end of cooking, pour it into the bowl with the pecorino mixture and season it well adding two ladles of cooking water to make sure everything is well mixed.
It is also possible to mix pecorino and black pepper in a large pan where the spaghetti will be drained, remembering however that they should NOT be cooked or put on the stove to mix but should be mixed “cold”.
Stir and serve immediately to prevent the pasta from cooling.
PASTA ALLA GRICIA
Pasta alla GRICIA is a classic recipe of Roman cuisine, and it is thought to be the forerunner of the other two celebrated recipes: amatriciana and carbonara, which on balance are two variations of this recipe, the first with tomato and the second with egg.
But gricia also has illustrious birthplaces, if carbonara and amatriciana are its daughters, pasta cacio e pepe is definitely its mother, as to complexity in fact gricia adds nothing, however it renews cacio e pepe with the addition of crispy guanciale.
- 4 cups of pasta (spaghetti, bucatini, mezze maniche)
- 8 oz of guanciale
- Pecorino Romano cheese to taste
- salt and pepper to taste
Begin by preparing the guanciale: take the whole piece and place it on the cutting board.
Cut it in half first lengthwise and then the other way, taking care to create slices of the same thickness.
Heat a frying pan, pour in the guanciale and brown it in its own fat until golden brown.
Meanwhile, put plenty of salted water to heat in a pot.
When the water is boiling, pour in the spaghetti.
Drain the pasta and set aside some of the cooking water so that, should you add the pasta to the sauce and find it too dry, you can stretch it.
Add the spaghetti to the guanciale in the pan and, over medium heat, stir with a wooden spoon to mix all the flavors well, adding the pasta cooking water if necessary.
Turn off the heat and finish preparing the pasta alla gricia by sprinkling with plenty of grated pecorino cheese and black pepper.
The pasta alla gricia is ready, enjoy!
An undisputed traditional Italian must in the area of pasta dishes is Amatriciana.
Many mistakenly attribute the original recipe to the Roman culinary tradition.
In fact, Amatriciana originated in Amatrice and conquered the capital with Umbrian shepherds who, during periods of transhumance, spread the recipe to Roman quarters.
The preparation of Amatriciana is very ancient and was born white, like all other traditional Italian recipes: the tomato, in fact, began to spread only in the 1700s.
Amatriciana: the original recipe
If you want to prepare a real dish of Spaghetti or Bucatini all’Amatriciana, you have to look at the traditional recipe of Amatrice.
Of course, the cult of tradition does not prevent one from experimenting with variations in taste and culinary reinterpretations, but the whole range of possibilities looks to the core of the original recipe, which is invariable and which one must be familiar with in every fundamental step.
The following is the recipe for amatriciana divulged by the official website of the Municipality of Amatrice.
Amatriciana: guanciale or bacon.
Behind the seemingly captious dilemma between guanciale and pancetta lie very specific reasons in favor of an unambiguous choice elected by tradition.
The original recipe for amatriciana is prepared with guanciale. The reason is very simple; this part of the pig is softer and sweeter.
Its sweetness creates a more articulated balance among the flavors and best brings out the full potential of a simply perfect dish.
To prepare the perfect Amatriciana, it is necessary to know how its flavor balance is articulated.
Between the poles represented by the acidic flavor of the tomato cooked in the iron skillet and the saltiness of the pecorino cheese, the sweetness of the guanciale is grafted to which is added the more neutral flavor of the pasta.
Garlic and chili pepper have, then, the task of making this first course pungent and layering it on an appetizing complexity, capable of gratifying the palate.
- 17 oz of Bucatini pasta (but you can use Spaghetti or Rigatoni)
- 8 slices of guanciale (125 grams), you can use bacon
- 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup of dry white wine
- 2 cups of cherry tomatoes
- 1 small piece of chili pepper
- 1 cup of Pecorino Romano cheese
- salt to taste
Prep. Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
In a frying pan put chili pepper, oil and guanciale cut into strips.
Let brown over high heat then deglaze with wine.
Remove browned guanciale from the pan and set aside.
Add tomatoes, season with salt and cook for a few minutes.
Remove the red pepper, put the guanciale back in and leave on a low flame for a few minutes.
Cook the pasta draining it al dente, toss it with the sauce, add pecorino cheese and stir.
Serve hot possibly adding more grated pecorino cheese.
PASTA ALLA CARBONARA
Pasta Carbonara or simply Carbonara; is a typical first course of Roman cuisine, appreciated all over the world!
Based on pasta, eggs, guanciale bacon, cheese!
A poor dish, but with heavenly goodness, which according to one of the most reliable hypothesis was born in 1944 in the days of liberation; from the ingredients available to American soldiers put together by a Roman cook.
Follow this Carbonara Recipe accompanied by all the step-by-step tips and secrets and you will prepare a perfect Pasta Carbonara at home! creamy and delicious! in just 15 minutes and a few moves!
Just as good as that of the best restaurants in the Capital!
- 1/2 cup of guanciale (cured pork).
- 1 cup (200 grams) of pasta (rigatoni, spaghetti)
- 1 cup of Pecorino Romano cheese
- 3 egg yolks
- pepper and salt to taste
Cut guanciale into thin strips and place on a cold skillet,
cook over low heat to sweat the guanciale and extract all the fat,it will be 100% crispy.
Grate the pecorino romano cheese in a bowl.
In a bowl put the 3 egg yolks, pepper and salt and the grated pecorino cheese.
Mix until creamy.
Once the fat from the guanciale has come out, put a tablespoon and a half of it into the previously created cream.
Now run the cream in a bain-marie, continuing to stir and adding a teaspoon of hot water (for 5 minutes).
Cook the pasta; remove the guanciale that has now become crispy and leave the fat in which you will finish cooking the pasta for the last 4 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat, add the cream and guanciale and stir slowly.
Plate, and sprinkle with more pecorino Romano cheese.