Bacon Pasta

Zingerman’s 4th Annual Camp Bacon is coming soon and to help get everyone prepared, we’re sharing tasty excerpts and recipes from Ari’s book, Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon

Pasta alla Gricia

The background on this dish is provided in the section on guanciale (see page 118), so all I’ll say here is that it’s a really great bowl of pasta, and that the pepper is one of the key components of this dish, not a postscript, so use a lot of it. The more I eat this dish, the more I like it.

  • 1 pound spaghetti (I’m partial to Martelli, but you can pick from any of the great artisan brands including Latini, Rustichella and Cavalieri)
  • 5 ounces (about 2 to 3 slices) guanciale, diced martelli_spaghettini_low-res
  • Hot red pepper flakes (preferably Marash), to taste
  • Freshly ground Tellicherry black pepper to taste
  • 5 ounces Italian Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt.
  2. At the same time, begin heating a heavy 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the pasta to the water and stir so that the noodles don’t stick.
  4. Fry the guanciale in the skillet until its fat is released and the nuggets begin to crisp. (If your guanciale is too lean, add a bit of olive oil to the pan.)
  5. When the pasta is approaching but not quite yet al dente, remove from the heat and drain.
  6. Add the pasta to the skillet with the guanciale and toss well to coat with the hot pork fat. Cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes, until the pasta is fully al dente. Stir regularly so that the pasta doesn’t stick. Add red pepper flakes and black pepper liberally to taste.
  7. Turn off the heat, add the grated Pecorino cheese and toss to coat. Serve hot, and pass the pepper grinder.

In the spring, sauté 6 ounces of asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces, along with the guanciale. I like the asparagus pieces lightly browned to bring out their full flavor.

Serves 4 as a main course, or 6 to 8 as a side dish.


See you at camp!