Gricia pasta is one of the most famous dishes of the Lazio cuisine, considered the ancestor of Amatriciana pasta.
In common with the amatriciana recipe, in fact, there is the use of pork pillow and Roman Pecorino. The main difference, however, lies in tomato sauce, absent in gricia pasta because its origin would even precede the importation of tomato in Europe. It is said gricia pasta was invented by the shepherds from Lazio who, with the few ingredients that they had available on their return from the pastures, prepared a dish as simple but just as tasty and substantial. You can choose to combine the savory condiment with a long pasta shape like bucatini and tonnarelli, or with short pasta!
• Rigatoni (short pasta): 320 g (11,28 oz)
• Pork pillow (already peppery): 250 g (8,81 oz)
• Grated pecorino chesse: 60 g (2,11 oz)
• Salt: as needed
1) To prepare the gricia pasta, first of all, place a pot filled with water on the stove that will serve to cook the pasta. At this point, take the pork pillow and make 1 cm thick slices. Then separate the rind that may be present (you can keep it in the fridge and reuse it in other recipes, such as soups) and from the slices get strips about half a cm thick.
2) In a hot pan, pour the pork pillow, without adding other fats; let them sizzle over medium heat for about ten minutes until it has become golden and crisp, taking care not to burn it. In the meantime the water will come to a boil, salt and cook the pasta.
3) When the pasta will be missing 2 minutes from the end of cooking, slow down the cooking of the pork pillow by pouring a ladle of cooking water (the cooking of the pillow will freeze and the starch released from the dough will create a pleasant cream). Shake the pan a little to remove the pieces of pork pillow.
4) At this point the pasta is cooked, drain it directly into the sauce, keeping the cooking water. Sauté for about 1 minute, shaking the pan and stirring. Then remove the pan from the heat, sprinkle with one third of the grated Pecorino cheese and add a little more cooking water when needed.
5) Stir and jump again the pasta; you will notice that a tasty cream will be created. You can serve the gricia pasta and garnish each dish with the remaining Pecorino cheese.
It is advisable to consume immediately. If you prefer, grciai pasta can be kept in the refrigerator for 1 day at most. Freezing is not recommended.
The pork pillow should be cooked in an already hot pan, a medium heat, checking from time to time to avoid burning. If you make an unpeeled cheek pad externally, add a grated black pepper to taste during cooking.
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