Mario Batali's Spaghetti alla Gricia

I love Mario Batali's recipes, but it isn't too often I get a chance to give them a try. I either can't find the necessary ingredients, I don't have enough time, or as of late Tony just gets in the way of me making dinner altogether! However, I found this recipe on the Food Network website, and not only did it look quite tasty, but relatively simple. Tony and I made the trip out to my favorite Italian market to pick up the pancetta, and I made this dish for dinner last night. It was wonderful, and really very easy to put together. Again, since I'm trying to eat healthier, I lightened this recipe up a little bit by using whole wheat spaghetti.
Source: Food Network


1 tablespoon plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small piece dried chile pepper, crushed
1/2 pound guanciale, may substitute bacon or pancetta, diced
1small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound spaghetti
Salt and pepper
Pecorino Romano, for grating


1. In a 12 to 14-inch saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over high heat. Add the chile pepper and pancetta and render the fat from the pork.
2. Remove the pancetta, reserving on a plate lined with paper towels. Add the remaining oil, onion and garlic and cook gently until golden brown, discarding the chile.
3. Return the pancetta to the pan and keep warm.

4. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt. Cook the spaghetti in the boiling water until tender yet al dente.
5. Drain the pasta and add to the saute pan with the pancetta.
6. Grate the pecorino over, toss over high heat 1 minute, and serve, divided evenly among 4 warmed pasta bowls.


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