Pasta alla gricia, ancestor of the more famous Amatriciana, is a typical dish of Roman cuisine and is one of the most famous dishes of the Italian capital, along with carbonara, suppli’ and saltimbocca alla romana.
The protagonists of the dish are the Roman pecorino cheese, guanciale and pepper, the same ingredients of the famous Amatriciana which represents its evolution, to which, however, was added the tomato, imported from America only in the sixteenth century.
The origins of pasta alla gricia
Gricia is one of the most typical dishes of popular Roman cuisine and there are several hypotheses about the origin of its name and its birth.
According to one hypothesis, the name derives from the appellative with which were called the retailers of bread coming from German regions or from Switzerland, in particular from the canton of Graubünden (the so called Grici); according to the most accredited hypothesis, instead, the name Gricia derives from the town of Grisciano, in the province of Rieti, near Amatrice.
This dish would have been invented by the shepherds, who during the long days of work used to bring with them some “poor” food, such as dried pasta, guanciale, pecorino cheese, lard, salt and pepper and its diffusion would be due to the movements of the shepherds themselves of Amatrice towards the Roman countryside.
The recipe for pasta alla gricia
- 400 gr of pasta (preferably spaghetti)
- 250 gr cheek lard
- Grated Pecorino Romano
- Extra virgin olive oil
Boil the water with salt.
In the meantime, prepare the seasoning, cutting the cheek lard into long, thin strips. Brown the cheek lard in a pan with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (in the old recipe lard was used) to melt the fat.
Drain the pasta al dente and keep a couple of ladles of the cooking water.
Pour the pasta (preferably spaghetti or bucatini) into the pan with the cheek lard, add the grated pecorino cheese and a ladle of the cooking water.
Stir to mix the ingredients well and sprinkle with black pepper over a low flame.
Enjoy your meal!
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