A while ago, I did a post featuring the Italian cured hog jowl meat known as Guanciale and I included a picture of a Spaghetti Carbonara I made using it. There are two fairly famous Italian dishes made using Guanciale (or sometimes Pancetta, or else regular bacon) and these are the aforementioned Pasta Carbonara and Pasta Amatriciana. Both of these are descendants of a simpler dish known as Pasta alla Gricia, which is basically pasta tossed in the pan with cooked Guanciale, generous amounts of pepper, grated cheese and sufficient pasta water to make a rich ‘sauce’.
Today, I am using the ‘alla Gricia’ style as my base but I am creating a ‘descendant’ version by adding sliced black truffle along with some brocollini for a little color and texture…
- 2 small portions of Spaghetti
- 100 grams of Guanciale sliced into batons
- 1 tsp (or more) freshly ground Black Pepper
- 1 ½ Tbsp slivered Black Truffle
- ½ cup pre-blanched Brocollini sliced thinly crosswise
- 3 Tbsp Grated Parmesan (plus more for the table)
As you can see, the ingredient list is very short and simple. The picture above shows the truffles I am using in this recipe. I bought the little jar in Byward Market in Ottawa and this recipe will be my first use of it. I did do a little taste test when I opened the jar and I found the slices to be decent if not spectacular…
The first step is to get the pasta boiling in salted water, but once this is well underway it is time to get the Guanciale sautéing. This should be done at a medium temperature to allow a good deal of the fat to render out while leaving the surfaces only slightly crispy here and there.
Once the pasta is al dente, you can drain it and add it to the Guanciale in the pan along with the Pepper. When the strands are well coated, it is time to add the truffle and the cheese along with a little of the pasta water (about a quarter to one third of a cup ought to be sufficient). Toss and stir until some of the water has evaporated and you are left with a thick, almost creamy coating for the pasta. Finally, add in the Brocollini (or other blanched greens if you like), stir until all is piping hot and serve imnediately…