January 4, 2013

Spaghetti alla Gricia

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Happy New Year everyone! 2012 was a big year for us here at Herbie Likes Spaghetti. We moved to Brooklyn and became homeowners, travelled to Italy and Argentina, and got married. It was a truly special year, and it'll be hard to top in 2013, but we'll try. Between all that, we didn't do as great of a job giving you that many delicious recipes, and we'll try to remedy that over the next few months.

To start it off, we've got a delicious traditional dish that we really should have posted a long time ago. Spaghetti alla Gricia is one of those dishes that is so simple that you can really taste every single ingredient, and really get a feel for how those ingredients compliment one another. It's essentially the same dish as Spaghetti alla Amatriciana, just without the tomato. "White" dishes like this are what Italians eat when they're looking for a lighter dish or when they have an upset stomach. Or so I've been told.

In any case, you can pull it together in about 15 minutes, so it's perfect for a weekend night or a primi for a big dinner that won't take too much effort, and it'll still be a real crowd pleaser, so read on to learn how to make it at home.

Making the Dish
What You'll Need
Serves 2
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
4 oz pancetta, chopped into cubes
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
1/2 lb spaghetti
2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste

In your sauce or sauté pan, heat up the olive oil over medium heat, and then slide in the pancetta and cook over medium low heat for about 7-8 minutes until the pancetta renders its fat and starts to get slightly crispy.

Next, add in your garlic and red onion slices and bring up the heat a bit. Sprinkle over a touch of salt, and let the garlic and onion simmer in the oil and fat for about 5 minutes until it is softened and fragrant.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and drop in your pasta. You'll be finishing the pasta in the sauce, so you'll want to make sure that you only cook it until  it is close to al dente - about two minutes shy of the package directions.

Add in a ladle of pasta water to the pancetta and onions and then drop in the grated cheese, letting the pasta water melt the cheese as much as possible. Add in the parsley, and when the pasta has reached the desired level of doneness, transfer it to the pan and toss everything together to combine over medium heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with additional grated cheese if desired.


One Year Ago: Hangar Steak with Blue Cheese Spiked BBQ Sauce
Two Years AgoJumbo Shrimp Buzara Style, Buzara di Scampi


  1. Recently stumbled upon your blog. Your pasta dishes are amazing, and Spaghetti alla Gricia is a dish that I love. The presentation is gorgeous, and this looks so delicious. Beautiful!

    Herbie and Pepper are adorable, too. :) Great blog!

  2. So I tried this but altered a bit and it was amazing. I didn't have pancetta but I used venison sausage sliced thin and I also added maitake mushrooms. It worked out very nice, but I think the pancetta might suit it better. Thanks!

    cardinham | Killigrew
    Cardinham | Killigrew


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