Friday, June 3, 2011

And the pasta obsession continues...

After obsessing about authentic Carbonara, having brought back authentic Guanciale and Pecorino, my obsession with traditional simple pasta continues. A few days ago I decided to try to make my own Guanciale at home (in 45 days I will let you know how it came out).

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:

The pasta:

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.



Anonymous said...

Hi Miguel,

I understand, Guanciale, is pork cheek. Where did you purchase it here in Manila?

Many thanks,

Juanjo BT

Miguel said...

Hi Juanjo,

Yes it's pork cheek. I bought this in Italy during one of my trips. I don't think they have Guanciale here but you can try it with pancetta.


Pixie said...

Hi miguel, I'm curious to know how you are fairing with the homemade guanciale. I wanted to make my own a couple of years back but I was afraid to air dry here with our high temperatures and humidity making bacterial infection more probable. What did you do to address this?
I would love to try making it too!

Miguel said...

Hi pixie sorry for late reply. I cured in in the refrigerator for 45 days. For the high humidity What I did was open the door of the refrigerator every day for about 90 minutes. I've done this with other cited meats and it came out ok. Guanciale is done already but since I'm in Europe, I can't taste it yet. Let's see when I get back how it tastes