Salami Pasta Alla Gricia
Pasta alla gricia is among the most versatile Roman pastas, and arguably foundational: Add tomato for amatriciana, add egg for carbonara, or remove the pork for cacio e pepe. As one origin story goes, shepherds in Amatrice brought guanciale, pecorino and pasta on their journeys, and made these dishes for sustenance. Guanciale (cured jowl) isn’t especially common in the United States, so, in the spirit of the shepherds using what was available to them, this recipe uses salami. Like guanciale, salami gives off deeply flavored fat to build the pasta sauce on. But salami provides even more crispy bits of meat to stud this rich, silky, deceptively simple pasta.
- Serves: 4 persons
- Kosher salt
- 1pound tubed, curved or long pasta, such as rigatoni, orecchiette or spaghetti
- 1tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1(6-ounce) log mild or spicy salami, casing discarded and meat coarsely chopped
- 1teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 1cup/2 ounces finely grated pecorino or Parmesan, plus more for serving
Step 1Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 2 cups of the pasta water, then drain the pasta.
Step 2While the pasta cooks, in a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil and salami over medium-low. Cook, stirring often, until crisp and golden-brown, 7 to 10 minutes. (Don’t be tempted to raise the heat, as you need the fat to fully render from the salami to form the sauce.) Remove from heat and stir in the black pepper until fragrant. Set aside until the pasta’s ready.
Step 3Add 1½ cups pasta water to the salami and simmer over medium-low heat, shaking and stirring until the water emulsifies with the fat to create a homogenous liquid, 2 to 4 minutes.
Step 4Add the cooked pasta and pecorino, and cook, shaking the pot and stirring vigorously until the cheese is melted and the sauce glosses the noodles, 2 to 4 minutes. If the sauce is thin, keep simmering. If you can’t see the sauce in the bottom of the pot or on the noodles, add more pasta water and keep stirring over medium-low.
Step 5Serve right away, with more pecorino on top.