This is a tasty, but slightly greasy and salty dish that uses a cousin of bacon–in this case, pancetta. To be most authentic, though, you’d want to use guanciale–is cured pork jowls–which is kind of hard to find in our local grocery stores. Hence, the pancetta.
There are many recipes for this online, and the one I grabbed was from Bon Appetit.
What you’ll need:
- 1T olive oil (given the greasiness of the pancetta, it would be safe to omit this)
- 6 ounces guanciale (pancetta in this case), cut into ¾-inch pieces
- 8 ounces rigatoni
- Kosher salt
- 2t coarsely ground black pepper
- 3 oz Pecorino Romano, finely grated on the small holes of a box grater
What to do:
Heat oil (if using) in large frypan over medium-low heat. Cook guanciale (pancetta), stirring often, until it starts to brown and crisp. When it’s done cooking, transfer it to a small plate lined with a paper towel. Reserve the grease/oil in the fry pan.
Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling lightly salted water, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is about halfway cooked (there’s a reason for this) reserve 1.5 cups of the cooking liquid when draining.
At this point, make sure your cheese is already grated.
Add 0.75 cups of the pasta cooking liquid to reserved frypan and bring it to a gentle boil over medium heat. Stir for about a minute before adding the pasta. Maintain that gentle boil, tossing the pasta and adding more of the cooking liquid, if needed, until the pasta is al dente and has a glossy surface–about 6 minutes.
Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the guanciale (pancetta), pepper, and two-thirds of the Pecorino. Toss well to combine and allow the cheese to melt.
Serve topped with the remaining Pecorino.