Years ago we used to enjoy this, what I will call ‘perfect meal’, very often, but, maybe because it’s been so long since we were in Italy, or maybe because I’ve become obsessed with cooking local fish, La Gricia seems to have made only one appearance on this blog before tonight.
It’s usually described as a traditional dish of the shepherds in the hills of Lazio. We first enjoyed it in 1996 while sitting at a table in the little street outside Piccola Trattoria da Lucia, in Trastevere, served by the founder’s grandson, Renato Bizzarri (the address of the restaurant is Vicolo del Mattonato 2).
This is Fred’s recipe. Note that the proportions are for only one serving, I assume in tribute to the setting in which the dish was traditionally prepared, that is, solitary, by one shepherd, for one shepherd.
- 500 grams (eight+ ounces) of Rigorosa di Gragnano Penne Rigate from Eataly, boiled until barely al dente, some of the liquid reserved and the pasta drained and tossed into a large enameled cast iron pot in which 4 ounces of guanciale from Buon Italia, cut in 1/4 to 1/2 inch square pieces, had been heated with 2 tablespoons of olive oil for about a minute, a bit of reserved pasta water then added to the pot, everything stirred for a minute to emulsify the sauce; several tablespoons of freshly-ground black pepper added and stirred into the mix, which was then removed from the heat and allowed to cool just a bit before 3 or 4 tablespoons of roughly-shredded pecorino, also from Buon Italia, was tossed in, the pot left standing for 30 seconds or so, the dish then served in shallow bowls, with more cheese and black pepper on the side
- the wine was an Italian (Umbria) white, Arnaldo Caprai Grecante Grechetto dei Colli Martani 2015, from Chelsea Wine Vault
We finished the meal with two ‘Pixie tangerines’ from Whole Foods.