Today was the turn for another simple traditional Roman style pasta: Pasta alla Gricia. It's a basic Carbonara (without the egg) with pasta water used to make a semi thick sauce that holds the whole dish together.
The Guanciale in the pan. You font want to overcook this or make it crispy, just very low heat until it's brown, fat has rendered and us transparent.
When it's halfway cooked, add a couple of tablespoons of pasta water. Keep on adding while you ate cooking the pasta to maintain the pork moist and a little saucy.
As soon as the pasta is 'al dente', save some pasta water, drain the pasta and dump the pasta in the pan with the Guanciale. Kepp moving the pan.. You have to hear that popping sound then add more pasta water. The pasta water is the key ingredient for this dish. The combination of the starch, water, oil and fat will render a nice, creamy super tasty coating to the pasta.
Give it a couple of minutes, put the pasta in the plate. Sprinkle with some pecorino cheese (don't get tempted to put too much) as it would definitely overpower the dish. Add some pepper and salt to taste.
The finished product. Had it with a Stone Pale Ale. The beet was a good match with the pasta.
For me, this is what Italian cooking is all about. Simplicity and top notch ingredients.