• bucatini
  • cheek lard
  • pecorino romano
  • black pepper

I think I never told you that, but I LOVE Rome.

I adore this city, it’s a city in which I could easily live (even if it’s more chaotic than my Turin) and, above all, it’s one of the few cities that makes me nostalgic… I feel like I have to go there after a certain amount of time.

Now it’s been two years since my last trip to Rome, a trip in the banner of (my) bad mood, good friends and excellent food (rigatoni alla pajata, artichokes, lamb a scottadito, supplì al telefono). Then I looked at  Rome with very different eyes, and I’d die to look at it with my today eyes, changed like my life did (even if it could seem always the same, from the outside).

 But, seriously, how could you possibly not love Rome?

This love declaration has to be sealed with a very Roman recipe, Gricia, a pasta dish that is sublime, in its tasty simplicity.

Ingredients, in fact, are four: pasta (I chose bucatini), cheek lard, pecorino romano, black pepper.

Nothing more, nothing less… and, when the shopping list is so short, the difference lies in the quality of the raw materials and in the cooking method, that has to be simply perfect.

So, I read a lot of recipes, but ultimately I stopped on Elisa‘s one (and Elisa it’s from Rome), I used bucatini instead of her tagliatelle and, as for the cooking, I used Barbara‘s method (making pasta like a risotto).

The result was amazing, very similar to the Gricia I ate in Rome. And Barbara warned me: once you try the risotto method, there’s no coming back. And, since then, I want to try and make cacio e pepe, another Roman classic!

(Virtual) trip to Rome – Bucatini alla Gricia


Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2
  • 200g bucatini
  • 100-150g cheek lard
  • grated pecorino romano
  • ground black pepper
  1. Cube the cheek lard (or slice it in thin stripes), then sauté it in a capacious (later it has to contain the pasta, too) nonstick frying pan, without adding anything else (not oil nor butter).
  2. When it’s golden brown (don’t over cook it; it has to stay soft), drain it (but leave the gravy in the pan) and leave it on a sheet of blotting paper.
  3. Bring to a boil a pot of slightly salted water, then put the pasta in, keeping in mind that you’ll have to drain them at least 4 minutes before the cooking time indicated on the pac. Drain them using a perforated spoon (you’ll need the water) and add them to the cheek lard gravy.
  4. Continue cooking the pasta like you’d do with a risotto, i.e adding a spoonful of cooking water at a time and letting the pasta absorbing it (so part of the starches dissolves into the sauce, making it creamy); add pecorino a little at a time (not too much or all together, ’cause it’s very savory) and do the same with black pepper (I didn’t add so much, ’cause my cheek lard was covered in black pepper).
  5. After two or three minutes, add the cheek lard, previously sauteed, and keep cooking until the pasta is ready (al dente) and creamy at the right point.
  6. Make the dishes and sprinkle with some pecorino and some black pepper, freshly ground.


Gricia blog


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