Mezze maniche alla gricia is a classic Italian recipe that is perfect for everyday occasions. This pasta dish is easy to prepare, full of flavor, and can be enjoyed by everyone.
With its rich and creamy sauce, it’s sure to become a new favorite in your household.
Occasions Where This Recipe Would Be Great:
- Weeknight dinner
- Casual dinner party
- Family gathering
- Picnic (can be served at room temperature)
Let’s get started!
Mezze Maniche Alla Gricia Recipe
- Large pot for boiling pasta
- Colander for draining pasta
- Cutting board for slicing guanciale
- Knife for chopping guanciale
- Saucepan for melting butter and mixing sauce
- Wooden spoon for stirring sauce
- Grater for grating Pecorino Romano cheese
- Plates for serving
- 12 oz 340g mezze maniche pasta
- 6 oz 170g guanciale, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons 45g unsalted butter
- 1 cup 250ml grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the mezze maniche according to package directions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- In a cutting board, slice the guanciale into small pieces.
- In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the guanciale and cook until crispy and golden brown, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the guanciale from the saucepan with a slotted spoon and transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil. Leave the remaining butter and drippings in the saucepan.
- Add the grated Pecorino Romano cheese to the same saucepan and stir until melted and smooth. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
- Add the cooked mezze maniche to the cheesy sauce and toss well to coat.
- Serve immediately, garnished with additional grated Pecorino Romano cheese and black pepper if desired.
Mezze maniche alla gricia is a simple yet flavorful Italian dish that is sure to delight your loved ones. Its rich and creamy sauce coats the pasta perfectly, creating a satisfying and filling meal. Whether it’s for a weeknight dinner or a casual gathering, this recipe is sure to become a staple in your kitchen. Buon appetito!
Can I substitute guanciale with another cured meat?
Yes, pancetta or bacon work well as substitutes for guanciale.
How do I store leftovers?
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a pan with a little extra butter or oil before serving.
What is the difference between carbonara and gricia?
Carbonara and gricia are both pasta dishes that originated in Italy, but they have some differences in terms of ingredients and flavor profiles. Carbonara is a rich and creamy pasta dish made with spaghetti, bacon or pancetta, eggs, parmesan cheese, and black pepper.
The eggs and cheese are cooked together with the pasta in the pan to create a creamy sauce. Carbonara is a classic Roman dish that has become popular worldwide. Gricia, on the other hand, is a pasta dish that originated in the city of Rome, specifically in the Testaccio neighborhood. It is made with short pasta tubes called mezze maniche, guanciale (cured pork jowl), Pecorino Romano cheese, and black pepper.
Unlike carbonara, which has a creamy sauce, gricia has a dryer, more robust flavor profile due to the use of guanciale, which gives it a distinctively savory and slightly bitter taste.
So, the main differences between carbonara and gricia are the type of pasta used, the use of guanciale vs. bacon or pancetta, and the overall flavor profile, with carbonara being creamier and gricia having a more robust, savory taste.
Where did gricia originate?
As for where gricia originated, as mentioned earlier, it comes from the city of Rome, specifically the Testaccio neighborhood. Testaccio is known for its working-class roots and traditional trattorias, and gricia is a popular dish that has been served in local restaurants for generations.
The name “gricia” itself is believed to come from the Italian word for “gravy,” which refers to the rich, savory sauce made with guanciale and Pecorino Romano cheese.
What type of pasta is best to use for this recipe?
For this recipe, it’s recommended to use a short, tubular pasta such as mezze maniche or rigatoni. These types of pasta hold onto the sauce well and provide a nice texture contrast to the soft, creamy egg and cheese mixture.
Can I substitute the guanciale with another type of cured meat?
While guanciale is a key component of the original recipe, you can certainly experiment with different types of cured meats if you prefer. Prosciutto or pancetta could work well, but keep in mind that their flavors may differ slightly from the original dish.
How much water should I use when cooking the pasta?
Use about 4 cups of water for every 1 cup of pasta. This will help the pasta cook evenly and prevent it from sticking together.
Should I add salt to the pasta cooking water?
Yes, it’s a good idea to add a pinch of salt to the pasta cooking water to enhance the flavor of the dish.
How long should I cook the pasta for?
Cook the pasta until al dente, which means it should still retain some bite or chewiness. This usually takes around 8-10 minutes for mezze maniche or rigatoni, but check the package instructions for specific cooking times.
Is it important to use freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese or can I use pre-shredded cheese?
While pre-shredded cheese can still work well, using freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese will result in a better flavor and texture. Freshly grating the cheese allows you to control the consistency and ensures that the cheese melts smoothly and evenly.
Can I add any vegetables or herbs to the dish to give it more flavor?
You can definitely add some chopped vegetables like cherry tomatoes, spinach, or mushrooms to the dish to increase its nutritional value and flavor. However, avoid adding herbs that may overpower the delicate flavors of the egg, cheese, and guanciale.
What is the best way to incorporate the egg into the pasta without scrambling it?
To prevent the egg from scrambling, stir it into the pasta slowly and gently over low heat. Start by adding a small amount of the egg mixture to the pasta and gradually add more, stirring constantly. This will allow the egg to coat the pasta evenly and maintain its creamy texture.
How do I ensure that the pasta is well coated with the sauce?
After adding the egg mixture to the pasta, continue stirring for a few seconds to ensure that the sauce coats the pasta evenly. You can also use a tongs or a wooden spoon to help distribute the sauce throughout the pasta.
Can I make this dish ahead of time or is it best served immediately after cooking?
While the dish can be prepared ahead of time, it’s generally recommended to serve it immediately after cooking to preserve the creamy texture of the egg and cheese mixture. If you must prepare it ahead of time, reheat it gently over low heat, stirring frequently, to prevent the egg from scrambling.