Rome-based food writer Katie Parla, co-author of the new book Tasting Rome ($30), explains that spaghetti alla gricia is a Roman classic that's kind of like carbonara minus the egg, or amatriciana without the tomato. Either way, we fell in love with this mash-up the first time we tried it in our Test Kitchen. Rendered fat from the guanciale mixes with wine and cheese to make a creamy sauce that coats spaghetti. It's a super easy, authentic Italian dinner that you can whip up in less than 30 minutes.
Guanciale is an Italian meat made from cured pork jowl. It has a salty richness and intense pork flavor that will perfume your kitchen with meaty goodness. You can find it at any Italian grocery store and in many butcher shops, but feel free to substitute pancetta if you can't find any.
To learn more, read "Rome Sweet Rome."
Spaghetti alla Gricia (Spaghetti with Guanciale and Cheese)Recipe adapted from 'Tasting Rome,' by Katie Parla and Kristina Gill (Clarkson Potter)
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes