Flavio al Velavevodetto's Rigatoni alla Gricia

Flavio De Maio, a master of cucina Romana, makes one of Rome's best pasta alla gricia at his restaurant Flavio al Velavevodetto—this is his recipe.
Chef Flavio De Maio
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 225 g Guanciale Cut into Strips (Lardons)
  • ~80 g Mature Pecorino di Amatrice or Pecorino Romano* Freshly Grated
  • 10 g Whole Sarawak Black Peppercorns
  • 340 g Dried Rigatoni or Mezze Maniche

Instructions

  • Dry-roast the black peppercorns in a small frying pan over low heat, swirling until very fragrant (approximately 4–5 minutes). Cool then coarsely grind, preferably with a mortar and pestle, and set aside 2.5 g of the ground pepper.
  • In a medium pot, heat water to a rolling boil and then lightly salt. (In order to concentrate the starch in the pasta water, and facilitate sauce emulsification, do not use a large pot or too much water)
  • Add the guanciale to a large cold pan (without oil), add heat, and cook until golden, add most of the black pepper, and then turn off the heat.
  • Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook until very al dente (~2 mins less than the pasta instructions), stirring occasionally. While the pasta cooks, warm the serving dishes in the oven.
  • After the guanciale is finished cooking, add a small ladleful (~200 ml) of pasta water to the pan with the guanciale to halt the cooking, turn on the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer, and reduce by half.
  • Once the pasta is finished cooking, transfer it and another small ladleful of pasta water to the pan with the guanciale and and toss vigorously over the heat until a thick sauce forms, adding more pasta water as necessary to achieve the desired consistency.
  • Remove from heat, add the grated pecorino and the remaining pinch of pepper, and toss vigorously
  • Plate on the warm dishes and garnish with grated pecorino and freshly ground black pepper.

Notes

This dish is sometimes referred to as amatriciana bianca.
Only use dried semola pastas, and never fresh egg pastas (pasta all'uovo), for alla gricia.
Warming of the serving dishes is essential to maintain the consistency of the sauce.
*The amount of pecorino used can vary between 60–240 g depending on taste and consistency preferences.
For a the Amatrice version of alla gricia, watch Gabriele Perilli of Ristorante La Conca in Amatrice prepare Spaghettoni alla Gricia.
For Sara Cicolini's equally delicious mezze maniche alla gricia served at SantoPalato, see her recipe here. For Nabil Hassed's rigatoni alla gricia served at Salumeria Roscioli, see his recipe here.
For a rough guide to the four essential Roman pastas—cacio e pepe, gricia, carbonara, and amatriciana—see this chart.