Rigatoni alla gricia

Adam Liaw
Roman-style pasta: Rigatoni alla Gricia.
Roman-style pasta: Rigatoni alla Gricia. Photo: William Meppem

Pasta alla gricia can use any number of shapes of pasta, and the guanciale can be cut any number of ways. I like rigatoni with matchsticks of crispy guanciale that tuck themselves inside the pasta as it's stirred. I combine all the ingredients in the pasta pot rather than a frying pan: the shape of a deeper pot makes it easier to stir to emulsify the oil, cheese and pasta water.


100g guanciale (or pancetta)

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

200g dried rigatoni

¼ cup finely grated pecorino cheese (or parmesan)

freshly ground black pepper


Slice the guanciale into thin matchsticks.

Heat a small saucepan over medium heat, add the oil and sauté the guanciale slowly for around 8 minutes, until the fat is rendered and the guanciale crisp.

While the guanciale is cooking, bring a large pot of water to the boil and add a good punch of salt. Boil the pasta according to the packet directions, and just as it is cooked to your liking, take an espresso cup and scoop out a cup of the pasta water.

Drain the pasta and return it to the warm pot. Add the guanciale and all the rendered oil, the pecorino and the reserved pasta water. Stir briskly until the oil, cheese and water combine to create a creamy sauce that coats the pasta. Grind through a little pepper and serve immediately.