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Spaghetti with Pancetta (Pasta alla Gricia)

4 Servings

20 minutes

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This classic Roman pasta dish depends on the quality of the pecorino Romano, a salty, hard sheep's milk cheese. The addition of cornstarch allowed us to overcome the tendency of lower quality cheese to clump, but for flavor we still suggest looking for imported pecorino. Guanciale (cured pork cheek) is traditional for gricia, but we used more widely available pancetta.




Don't use pre-shredded cheese, even if it's true pecorino Romano. And grate it on the small holes of a box grater; larger shreds won't melt. Don't pour the pecorino mixture onto the piping-hot, just-drained pasta; letting the pasta cool for a minute or so ensures the mixture won't break from overheating.

20 minutes


  • 3

    ounces pancetta, finely chopped

  • cups water


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Jim K.
November 12, 2022
Rich and Tasty Pasta
Great! One of our faves. Even better with Guanciale.
Richard W.

Had a tough time with this one. The sauce got all clumpy in spots loose in others. What. Did i do wrong.

jason s.

Equally frustrating experience as Richard W. The instructions do not appear to be rocket science so I don't think I did anything wrong. Cheese melted into a cohesive clump and never incorporated with the water. Hoped it would come together when simmering but never did and I was afraid to simmer too long. When I poured the sauce over the noodles, the cheese broke up into smaller blobs and just clumped with the pasta and it never turned to a sauce and coated the pasta. But, we picked through the pasta to avoid the cheese blobs and the pasta sans clumpy cheese blobs was still very good.