Two Dishes Cooked alla Gricia

I first enjoyed Spaghetti alla Gricia 2 years ago. It was my last night and supper in Rome after what had been, by any measurement, a very filling vacation. I wanted some lighter fare and the simplicity and flavors of this dish appealed to me. I’m currently in the planning stages of another trip to San Marino and Rome and that dinner and pasta came to mind.

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Spaghetti alla Gricia 1

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Spaghetti alla Gricia is an old recipe that originated in Lazio, the district in which Rome is located. It is from the time before tomatoes were brought to Europe in the sixteenth century. There are 2 legends surrounding tomatoes’ arrival in Europe and Italy. The first, and most probable, is that they crossed the Atlantic when one of the conquistadors (Pizarro?) returned to Spain. The other says that 2 Italian priests brought tomatoes with them when they returned from Mexico. Regardless of how they got to the continent, the first mention of tomatoes in Italy appeared in a Tuscan document in 1548. Pre-dating that document means that Spaghetti alla Gricia is one, old dish!

You can trace 2 delicious pasta dishes to Spaghetti alla Gricia, Spaghetti alla Carbonara and Spaghetti all’Amatriciana. Much like the alla Gricia pasta, a carbonara is tomato-free, though it does include eggs, something its predecessor lacks. Amatriciana dishes don’t include eggs but they do include tomatoes. Frankly, you cannot go wrong if you decide to make any one of the three dishes.

I had originally intended to share a recipe for butternut squash noodles cooked alla Gricia. While writing that post, I searched this blog for my Spaghetti alla Gricia recipe and was surprised that it was never shared. So, I’ll share the spaghetti version now and the butternut squash version in a few minutes.

With only 4 ingredients, this is about as simple a pasta dish as you can prepare. The longest part of the process is the time it takes to boil the water. As is the case with all easy pasta dishes, timing is critical. The spaghetti should be cooked just shy of al dente so that it finishes cooking in the pan with the pork. The only other issue that may arise is the type of pork product to use. The dish is normally made with guanciale, a non-smoked bacon made from the jowls of a hog. Here I substituted pancetta. You could also use ham or bacon, although I would caution against using a smoked product. WIth so few ingredients, the smoke would become the predominant flavor and this dish is all about balance. You’ll want to taste the pork and cheese equally and not smoke.

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Spaghetti alla Gricia 2

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Spaghetti alla Gricia Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (450 g) spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 to 6 oz (112 to 168 g) guanciale cut into strips (lardons) or ⅓ inch dice – pancetta, ham, or non-smoked bacon may be substituted
  • ¼ cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
  • reserved pasta water
  • additional grated Pecorino Romano for serving

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to the boil. Add the spaghetti and cook following package directions until about 2 minutes short of al dente. Reserve some of the pasta water for possible use later. (Step 5)
  2. Meanwhile, place olive oil in a hot frying pan over medium heat. Add pancetta and sauté to render the fat.
  3. Once the fat has been rendered and the pancetta browned, not burnt, add the cooked spaghetti and toss to evenly coat the pasta.
  4. Sauté until the pasta is cooked to your preference.
  5. Remove from heat, add the Pecorino Romano cheese, and toss to combine. If too dry, add some of the reserved pasta water.
  6. Serve immediately, garnished with additional Pecorino Romano.

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Spaghetti alla Gricia 3

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What did I tell you? This really is an easy recipe to prepare and a very flavorful one, at that. I think you’ll find butternut squash alla Gricia to be no more complicated.

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The Spiralizer Chronicles, Chapter 2: Butternut Squash alla Gricia

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Butternut alla Gricia 3

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Although quite simple to prepare, working with spiralized vegetables does create a few issues. Some spiralized vegetables, like zucchini, will sweat water over time. If boiled, you may need to drain and, unlike pasta, pat them dry before proceeding with the recipe. Roasting may help to lessen the problem but, whether boiled or roasted, these “noodles” will not absorb sauce like pasta does. Remember that when dressing these dishes. If there’s a pool of sauce/dressing at the bottom of the serving bowl, you’ve likely used too much.

With those issues in mind, and knowing that butternut squash doesn’t sweat nearly as much as other vegetables, choosing to prepare it alla Gricia was a no-brainer, especially for an inexperienced spiralizer user like myself. I mean, there are only 4 ingredients and one of those are the noodles! You don’t need much experience to get this recipe right.

As simple as this dish is to prepare, if you choose to cook the noodles as I have, there are 2 ways to go about it. I chose to roast the butternut noodles prior dressing them with the sauce. If you prefer, you can cook the noodles in the same pan as was used to prepare the sauce (see Notes). There is, in fact, a third option. Depending upon the vegetable you use to make your noodles, you may choose not to cook them at all. Once spiralized, place the noodles in a serving bowl, dress them with the browned guanciale and rendered fat. Add the cheese, toss to combine, and serve.

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Butternut alla Gricia 2

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Butternut Squash “Noodles” alla Gricia Recipe

Ingredients

  • the neck of ! small butternut squash (9 oz; 270 g – trimmed) (See Notes)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 oz guanciale cut into 1 inch strips or ⅓ inch dice – pancetta, ham, or non-smoked bacon may be substituted
  • ¼ cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
  • hot water or chicken stock
  • additional Pecorino Romano for serving

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400˚ F (205˚ C)
  2. Use a spiralizer to create the thinnest possible noodles
  3. Place noodles evenly on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle LIGHTLY with olive oil. Mix to evenly coat the squash.
  4. Place the squash into the preheated oven and roast for 10 to 15 minutes or until cooked to your preference.
  5. While the squash roasts, Place the oil in a large hot frying pan. Once heated, add the guanciale and cook over a medium heat. This will render the fat without burning the guanciale,
  6. Cook until the guanciale is browned, not burnt, and the fat has rendered.
  7. Add the now-cooked noodles to the pan and toss to coat.
  8. Remove from the heat, add the cheese, and toss until the noodles are well-coated.
  9. If too dry, add a little hot water or chicken stock. Mix well.
  10. Serve immediately garnished with additional grated Pecorino Romano.

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Butternut alla Gricia 1

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Notes

As is the case with all vegetables to be spiralized, choose butternut squash that are as straight as possible. Spiralizers do not work as well with curved vegetables.

Butternut squash have a long neck connected to a bulb-like section which contains the seeds. This bulb cannot be spiralized. Cut the squash where the 2 sections meet and reserve the bulb for another use.

Unlike many other vegetables, butternut squash must be peeled before being spiralized.

If you choose not to bake your noodles beforehand, spiralize the squash and set the noodles aside. Heat the oil and guanciale in a large frying pan. Once the guanciale has browned — not burned! — and the fat rendered, remove the guanciale to a paper towel. You may need to drain some of the fat in the pan depending upon the amount of noodles you’ll be using. Add the noodles to the pan and toss until evenly coated with the fat. Cook the noodles until they reach the right amount of doneness to suit your taste. Once cooked to your liking, add the guanciale back into the pan, toss. When heated through, take off the heat, add the cheese, and toss to combine. If too dry, add some hot water or chicken stock, toss, and serve garnished with grated cheese.

No matter how you cook the noodles, the longer you cook them, the softer they will become. The noodles should retain a bit of crispness straight from the oven. Taste the noodles as they sauté until they reach your desired doneness. Once there, immediately take them off the heat before continuing with the recipe.

For either alla Gricia recipes, be careful not to add so much olive oil when rendering the pork fat that you will need to pour some of it off before adding the spaghetti or squash noodles. That fat is loaded with flavor. Better that you add just a little olive oil in the beginning and more, as needed, later on.

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It’s déjà vu all over again …

Pasta alla Chitarra 1

Since it was mentioned earlier as a “descendent” of today’s recipe, I though I’d send you back to take a look at the Spaghetti all’Amatriciana recipe. Not only will you see the dish prepared but you’ll learn how to use a chitarra to make the pasta. Interested? Just click HERE.

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Coming soon to a monitor near you …

Stormy Lentils Preview

Stormy Lentils

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136 thoughts on “Two Dishes Cooked alla Gricia

  1. Slither beautiful recipe with beautiful history. I love the photo of the squash on the spiralizer. I also an so impressed by the use of butternut squash here. I know I can’t fit it in my hand held one but I shall try for this recipe! Thanks for sharing. Rome must have been amazing.

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    • Thanks, Amanda. I wondered how hard it would be to spiralize butternut by hand and never considered there might be a size issue. My attachment doesn’t do well with thin veggies like carrots. I have to find the really huge ones. As for Rome, there really is no place like it. I’m an antiquities nut and being able to walk around the Forum and Pantheon is unparalleled. I cannot wait to get back there in April.

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  2. Great post, John. I’ve had a similar experience lately where I thought that surely I must have blogged about crème brûlée before (I hadn’t).
    I think I’ll prefer cooking the squash in the fat from the guanciale. I have guanciale and butternut squash, now all I need is a spiralizer. I’ll have to throw some other stuff out, or remodel my kitchen, before I have the space…

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    • Ha! Now you know why I’m hesitant to buy sous-vide equipment. This spiralizer stores neatly in its box which I place on a shelf away from my kitchen. Space in my kitchen is at a premium. I need to get this place organized!

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    • Thanks, Debi. I’m still battling with sweating zucchini. I’m not willing to give up yet but the pressure is off now that I know butternut works and adds such a nice flavor to the dish. I may end up only using zucchini when raw and butternut cooked.

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  3. Great post John! I love the recipe (and alternative) plus the history. You make me want to go straight to my amazing Italian deli and pizza place next door (Saponara), as I’m sure they sell guanciale. They have a wholesale business on the side and I’ve never seen such a huge selection of Italian charcuterie before in London 🙂

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  4. Wonderful, John! I am glad you went with roasting, I used to boil my spiralized veggies, but since I learned about America’s Test Kitchen on them, I switched to roasting – particularly for zucchini, works a lot better, although I am also quite fond of using zucchini raw and warming it up with the sauce.

    Love the simplicity of this sauce, as you said, all about balance…..

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    • Thanks, Sally. I’ve yet to boil zucchini but I have roasted it and salted it. I think it will depend on what I intend to do with the noodles. Butternut squash was a real surprise. Not only did it keep its bite but it added a great flavor to the dish. I’ve ha a couple of fails, however, and it will be interested to see if I can ever convert the pasta in a carbonara, for example, to veggies. That egg is not easy to cook if you’re worried about over-cooking the noodles. I may substitute something like mascarpone for the egg, though it wouldn’t be a true carbonara. I bet it would be tasty, though. 🙂

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    • I’m glad you liked the recipe, Will. I was about our age when I started cooking and the first dish I made was pasta with butter and cheese. In Italian, it’s called Pasta in Bianco. You can learn how to make it by clicking HERE. Please let me know if you try it. It’s still one of my favorite pasta dishes and I hope that you’ll like it, too. 🙂

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      • That looks yummy! Unluckily I won’t be able to use the pasta that you recommend because I’m gluten free, but I can still find some great gf pasta out there. I will try the recipe and let you know what i think of it!! PS how is it going with the Dognition thing if you don’t mind me asking? Bye! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

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        • I didn’t realize that you were GF, Will. You’re lucky because today there are many more delicious GF products available than there were just a few years ago. I’m sure your Mom prepares many tasty GF dishes for you. I know very little about GF pastas. Do you have a favorite brand? Would you mind sharing it with me?
          As for Dognition, Max and I haven’t started yet. It snowed over the weekend and my spare time was spent clearing the walks of my home and my neighbors’. I should be able to get started tomorrow and I’m anxious to see how Max does. This should be fun. I’ll let you know how it goes. 🙂

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  5. You’ve certainly created perfect dishes using flavorful ingredients and an “oh, so simple” preparations. John. The butternut squash one has inspired me to pull out my dusty spiralizer! I must ask… Is yours an attachment for a Kitchen-aid mixer? It appears to be… and looks much more “industrialized” than the one I own.

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    • Thanks, Nancy.Form tastes, this dish represents the best of Italian cooking. A few delicious ingredients used in balance. The only way to mess it up is to start adding more ingredients. Less is more here.
      Yes, I bought the KA spiralizer attachment on sale before the holidays. It was love at first sight. 🙂

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  6. Such a nice, easy, flavorful recipe. Looks good with both the past and the veggies. But I think pasta for me in this dish — just a simpler, cleaner flavor. Really good — thanks.

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    • Thanks, John. You’ll never get me to say that a veggie noodle dish is better than the original. It might be healthier but I love a good pasta. Period. Having said that, butternut squash made a very tasty dish, surprisingly so. I’m now experimenting it in other uses. It’s a learning process and I’ve really just begun.

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  7. Honestly, I can’t decide which version of this dish appeals to me more…the original with pasta noodles or the spiralized and roasted butternut squash noodles. I love butternut squash and am smacking my lips just thinking about how tasty this preparation must be, so I guess I have my answer. 😉

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  8. Oh I love these simple pasta dishes! And replacing the pasta with butternut noodles also sounds wonderful! I don’t own a spiralizer, but I could always make a kind of pappardelle using a peeler!

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    • Thanks Darya. i’ve friends who make veggie noodles with a variety of peelers. All work very well and the dishes are tasty. In fact, I think a pappardelle-sized noodle would be very good here. Buon appetito!

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  9. Introductions of tomatoes and potatoes from the Americas is interesting in how they changed so many cuisines. Now, introduction of new equipment and desires for gluten-free ~ low-calories are adding further. Both simple and very delectable recipes here. I love pasta every form including spiral vegetable spaghetti form. I have to get myself a spiralizer! 🙂

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    • Thankfully, I do not have any issues with gluten, Fae, but it’s good to know that there are plenty more options available today than just 10 years ago. I use my spiralizer far more than I thought I would. I wasn’t having success using zucchini in this dish but things sure did improve once I tried roasted butternut squash. What a difference!

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    • Thanks, Ronit. I’m still very much learning which vegetables to use and how to process them. The truth is that I’d bought the butternut squash to use in another dish. When I couldn’t get zucchini to work here, I turned to the squash in desperation — and am I glad I did. As you said, roasting them brought a wonderful flavor to the dish.

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  10. I did a face palm while reading your post – ROAST the butternut squash! Of course! I’ve tried B. squash a couple of times and wasn’t too thrilled with the flavour. But roasting is the key! Thanks!

    Also, the first recipe look utterly fab to me. I could eat some kind of pasta mixed with some kind of cheese every. single. day.

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    • I must admit, Ruth, that I was surprised to see just how well the butternut worked here. It really is a good dish! Even so, nothing will ever replace pasta in my diet. As good as the butternut is, the real McCoy is, for me, in a class by itself. Like you, I could eat pasta daily and never utter a word of complaint. 🙂

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  11. Well, whether it was the Conqueror or the priests you seem to have been blessed with tomatoes from across the Atlantic Pond 🙂 ! Thankfully they even travelled this other Pond! Love this and the amatriciana . . . you are not the first to talk about ‘carbonara’ this week . . . as a nutritionist, however great the taste, that one I have the wisdom to pass : !! But cannot wait for your ‘stormy’ lentils: happen to eat those the legumes at least twice a week, and this sounds moreish . . .

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    • I hate when nutrition gets in the way of good food. 😀
      My diet has changed quite a bit over the past few years. The availability of unprocessed and uncured foods has made the change easier. I think you’ll like the lentils. I just prepared them again today. When the weather is this cold, a bowl of lentils works wonders. 🙂

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      • John dearHeart – so you think you are the only one 🙂 ??? I have been ‘fighting’; with that particular issue for about three decades or more 😀 !! Naturally a well-prepared ‘carbonara’ is ‘good food;’ and, oops, so tasty . . . just . . . I know what my end health issues will be and .. . 😉 !!! . . . , oh: ere I make the lentils I shall probably have had the pasta, including yours, quite a few times . . .

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    • These dishes are all about simple, Celi, and I do love ’em. Yes, that’s a pasta making attachment for my stand mixer. It was a Christmas gift 3 years ago. I must have been very good that year. 🙂

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    • You hit the nail on the head, Abbe. The butternut adds a bit of earthiness that the original lacks. That doesn’t mean its superior, just different. (I had to say that, One doesn’t want to anger the pasta gods.) Yes, I’ll be going back to visit Dad’s family in San Marino and then it’s on to Rome for a few days. My nephew just graduated college and will be joining me. I cannot wait to show him around.

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    • Thanks, Jasline. I feel the same when I visit our blog. You’ve taught me plenty about Asian cuisines and your cakes are works of art.
      I bet you’ll get a spiralizer and then you can teach me even more. 🙂

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  12. Well whoever bought the tomatoes over for us, we bless them wholeheartedly and raise a glass of vino to them! However, dishes like this are great too as the flavour of the pasta and (in this case) the pork can shine through. Whenever people resort to picking up the phone for a take away because “there is nothing in the house/fridge to eat” they need to turn to fantastically simple and tasty recipes like this 🙂 And your lentil photo made me smile – we had lentils with chorizo yesterday! Have a great week John.

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    • I’ve said almost the exact same thing to friends who have had the misfortune of telling me there’s “nothing to eat” in their house. I’ve offered to bring a pound of pasta to their home and cook dinner for them. Luckily, no one has said “Yes, come on over.” Just like today’s dish proves, you do not need a dozen rare ingredients to make a great dish. Very often with pasta, less is more.
      Did you use your own chorizo for your lentils? I used our family sausage in mine. (Actually, I made it a 2nd time and used ham hocks like my family always did.) I sure hope you’re planning to share the chorizo recipe. I would love to make some authentic chorizo because I haven’t found a good brand to buy from any of the stores. Not to pressure you in any way but I would really, really, really appreciate it if you did share the recipe. 😀

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    • You’re so right, Gretchen. Some of my favorite pasta dishes are the ones with the fewest ingredients. Here, the pork gives the dish such a great flavor. Adding anything other than cheese would be criminal. If you’ve still not made up your mind about a spiralizer, I’ve a few more recipes scheduled that just might convince you. 🙂

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    • Welcome! I think you’re going to enjoy the flavor that butternut squash brings to the dish. Nothing will replace pasta for me but this is a tasty dish, too.
      Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment.

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  13. Drooling over it! This is such a dear dish to me! It has my hometown written all over it! Yes, very simple yet very hard to make it right. This is the true key about simple dishes: the few ingredients don’t allow any mistake: you just have to nail them!
    Your spiralizer version … what can I say? You never stop to amaze me, John! 🙂

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    • Thank you so much, Francesca. When I mentioned to friends that this was my last dinner in Rome, some thought I’d wasted an opportunity. Obviously, they didn’t know what they were talking about. Spaghetti alla Gricia is such a flavorful dish! I’ll be back in Rome in April and you can bet I’ll enjoy it again!

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  14. Oh my! I think that Spaghetti alla Gricia is coming to a pot on my stove soon! Nothing but deliciousness. I should not look down my nose at the Butternut Squash version…..but I’m just a pasta kinda gal, couldn’t imagine using squash. Thanks for these yummy recipes!

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    • You’re in for a very tasty dinner, Angeline, and you’ll be amazed at how quick and easy it is to prepare. Prior to getting this spiralizer, I thought the same as you. THe flavor of the butternut squash version was a complete surprise. I’m not saying it’s as good as pasta — is anything as good as pasta? — but it is a tasty dish.

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  15. I think I told you my daughter bought a spirilizer. She hasn’t used it yet. Why? Because it’s still sitting in the boot of my car – she hasn’t brought it into the house! I love how simple your first pasta dish is yet how wonderful it looks. I just love how Italians can put together so few ingredients yet produce such a magnificent meal xx

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    • Thanks, Charlie. I’ve sat with Zia watching cooking shows and she doesn’t like watching a chef add a dozen ingredients to a pasta dish. That is not at all how she and Mom were taught. They rely far more upon the ingredients than they do spices and herbs. I look forward to seeing how you use your spiralizer, Charlie. You’re a creative cook not to mention that the salad possibilities are seemingly endless.

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  16. These dishes are so easy, which I really do love (and need), but somehow they are standouts and absolute crowd pleasers, The butternut squash noodles fascinate me. I don’t yet have a spirilizer but it’s definitely on my radar. I really do love how so few ingredients combine to make something really special. Have fun planning your return trip to Italy. How exciting, John!

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    • Thanks, Debra. For my tastes, the more simple the pasta dish, the better. Dishes like this one really let the flavor of the ingredients shine. There’s no need to muddy the waters with more herbs and spices.They simply aren’t needed.
      My nephew will be traveling with me this time around. He’s never been and it will offer him the opportunity to meet a side of the family he’s never seen, not to mention see sights that he’s only read about. We’ll split our time between the Republic of San Marino and Rome. I’m really looking forward to it.

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  17. I love the simplicity of the alla Gricia preparation and I’m stoked to try to butternut squash noodles. Don’t get me wrong: I love traditional pastas, but sometimes something lighter is called for. For example, after a lengthy season of holiday and birthday over-indulgence that’s evident on the scale and in the closet. Ha! As always, I appreciate the careful attention to detail in your recipes and instructions. And, another trip to Italy? Good for you!

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    • I know exactly what you mean,Mar. I love my pasta and nothing shall take its place, Still, a dish made with veggie noodles is a remarkably tasty alternative and these butternut squash noodles are really quite good. Yes, I’ll be going back to the Rep. of San Marino and then Rome with my nephew. I cannot wait to show him around — during the day, of course. He’ll be on his own after hours. I’ve already sown those oats. 😉

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  18. I am so pleased you posted this! The pasta looks great, so simple but you just know it’s going to taste good – dare I say it but a quickie dish so no excuses about time. After reading about your new spiralizer attachment I got a whiff of a special offer and I’m getting one from my husband. You should get in contact with KA quick for some commission! Thanks for sharing your best practice on this. :):)

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    • Thank you. That’s the thing about the simple dishes, pasta or otherwise. They allow the flavors of the ingredients to shine. And they can be ready in minutes. I have a difficult time justifying ordering dinner to be delivered or take-away when I can prepare something like this in literally 15 minutes.
      I really should have bought stock in the company before I started posting recipes. Another missed investment opportunity..:)

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  19. John – your incredibly authentic recipe makes me want to buy tickets for Rome today! So rarely does anyone honor the simplicity of this recipe; they are always adding extra ingredients because the recipe ‘needs’ it. This is a big favorite of mine. I don’t have a spiralizer, so I will need to sticks to pasta!

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    • Thanks, David. It took me a long time to realize that the ingredients often did very well without all sorts of additives. Had you seen Mom and Zia’s spices, you’d have been amazed at how few they actually had. Sure, they had the baking spices but their cooking relied on very few. For them, it was all about using the best ingredients at their peak. As for Rome, I cannot wait to get back there. So many paste, so little time. 🙂

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  20. Both recipes are amazing… I confess to being a pork fan. I love the simplicity of both dishes, and pumpkin is a regular on our menu. I hadn’t thought to spiralize and bake it. But I can see it would be wonderful 🙂

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    • We share a love of pork, EllaDee. Here it really flavors both dishes very well. I always keep some pancetta or guanciale in my freezer,reserved for Spaghetti alla Gricia. It is one dish I can have on the table in 15 minutes. Hard to beat that.

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  21. Buono Sera John! My word ,2 recipes in one post…you are spoiling us. I love both version but of course your traditional past version is the one my boys would pick hands down. Nice little tidbit on the interesting history of this dish and some very helpful hints about using a spiralizer. I am probably the last person on earth who is not on the spiralizer bandwagon and I know I would love it but storage is such an issue here in HK. Your spiralizer and spaghetti shot ip against the black background are beautiful. Wishing you a super week!

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    • Buongiorno, BAM, e grazie! I really hadn’t intended to post 2 recipes and was surprised that I never posted the Spaghetti all Gricia recipe. Its ease of preparation has made it a favorite of mine. Using butternut squash was an even bigger surprise. It adds another flavor to the dish without overpowering the cheese or pork. Somehow it just didn’t seem right to post the butternut squash recipe without sharing the real thing first. Normal posting returns tonight. 🙂
      Hope you’re having a great week, too!

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    • Thanks, BAM. Nice of you to come back to comment. I’ll be going with my newly-graduated nephew this time. It will be his first time in Italy and he’ll get to meet some of his cousins for the first time as well as see where his Grandpa was born and raised. I am really looking forward to it. As for stowing away, that could work. We just have to figure out where to get you into the bag. We’ll figure out how once the where is addressed. I’ve used Google Maps with some success. Are you familiar? 🙂

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  22. Aaah, I think I may have to get my hands on a spiralizer! I have a kitchen aid as well, so the next time I head to Helsinki, I’ll have to see if I can find the attachment. If not, I know they have other kinds of spiralizers available. And perhaps it might make eating vegetables just a bit more fun for the kids to eat 🙂 I’ve noticed that if I bake a whole-grain focaccia and fill the top with onions and herbs and make a cheese fondue for the kids to dip, no one removes the onions or other treats on top…they are too busy dipping. Sometimes the form the food is in really wins over the kids. 🙂

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    • I cannot wait for you to get a spiralizer! I want to see how you’ll use it. Once your children see you processing the vegetables, I bet they’ll be eager to try the final dish. As you say, form will win out. 🙂

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    • Thanks for the tip but I already belong to WordPress. Don’t let the name fool you. 🙂
      Thanks, though, for the reminder. I have to pay the annual fee for this domain name. I’d forgotten all about it. Yikes!

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  23. Oooh! I love the spiralizer. Pasta or Butternut squash? I think they are both good, but I prefer the butternut squash. 😀 I love the history behind this recipe and how simple it is but yet looks appetizing. Thanks for sharing John.

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    • Thanks, Kat. Both dishes are fantastic and yet so simple, a lesson in less is more.
      Just today, I received confirmation for our flat in Rome. Cannot wait to get to get back there. 🙂

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  24. Oh goody goody. Timing on this post was perfect. We’re headed to my BIL’s who has a pasta maker, but doesn’t know how to make anything but a tomato sauce. I’ll have to make this for him. We’ll all love it and it’s a new one for us! Thanks! I also love those butternut “noodles”. Man…I need a spiralizer! Great dishes John!

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  25. I’m so behind in reading your posts, John! I’m so sorry not to be able to read all your posts in time and follow all the commenter’s thoughts and ideas anymore. Won’t have the time to cook either and will have to substitute real food by convenient food. – Maybe you know it already from my comment at Celi’s, I – yes me – I’ve finally got a new job – after two years being unemployed and nobody wanting me. Of course I am glad of that development but, alas, have no time for anything anymore…. So sad. I liked being your guest very much and I have to say, your site is great and your posts and writing style are lovely. – I’ll stay a “follower” though, looking forward to your mails in my letterbox and I will check from time to time how you are here on your blog, will sip a little bit of your pictures and recipes but no more comments reading or writing – I will be a silent visitor from now on (mostly). … – The good news is however, yes there is one: I can afford your cook book soon !!! 🙂 Yippeeee!
    Have a great time, John and – it’s not far, isn’t it? – have a nice and fulfilling holiday in Italy together with your nephew! Makes me envious…. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Ooops, this didn’t want to be uploaded at my first attempt, but here it is:

    Gorgeous photo of a pasta machine. What a great attachment, makes super perfect spaghetties. – I so love Spaghetti Carbonara as well as Spaghetti Amatriciana and I’m sure I will love Spaghetti alla gricia too. Mmmh, so fine with Pecorino Romano. – Oh, and thanks for the link to the chitarra use and your Firence adventures. Brought me back nice memories. A beautiful city, isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so glad to read that you’ve a new job, Irmi. Congratulations! Please do not worry if you’ve no time to comment. I truly do understand. Visit when you can but do not feel any pressure to do so.
      Yes, Italy again and I am so looking forward to going. It will be a treat taking my nephew around, not to mention seeing my Zia and cousins again. Had it been up to me, we would have returned to Florence. How I love that city! This being my nephew’s first trip abroad, I left the choice of cities to him, understanding that we only had time for one destination after San Marino. He chose Rome. Well, he really couldn’t choose badly, now could he?
      I’ll arrive in Bologna the day before he arrives and I’ve rented a car to take us to and from San Marino. Once we return the car in Bologna, we’ll take the train to Rome where our flat awaits. This will be fun!
      Again, congratulations for finding a new job, Irmi. Best of luck to you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, you’re talking so lively about your trip to come. I so loved Bologna, it is the food capital of Italy imho. All that tiny groceries and great little restaurants and market places with all that delicious food to see, to smell, to taste, to buy and to consume. I did not see San Marino (a pity), I just took the train to Rimini… did not want to miss “il mare” ;-). And Rome is worth seeing of course! Have a nice and successful trip you two, Enjoy! I’m happy and looking forward to your report, when you are back! – When does your adventure begin? At/on Easter?

        Oh, and your newly posted porc chops look so yummy! I so love that you had it with potato puree. Mmmmh 🙂 I have an “Elvis Cookbook” (really true – by Elizabeth Wolf-Cohen), where is mentioned that he liked puree with gravy very very much. Me too.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I was there 2 years ago for a few days, Irmi, and I, too, love Bologna. I certainly did my best to sample as much of the cuisine that I could. I also loaded up the car with fruit for the drive to San Marino. I’ve not much time but I am going to do my best to find and enjoy a wonderful dinner. Thanks for the well wishes, as well as the kind words about the recipe.
          Meat and gravy dishes were very popular when I was a boy. It was a virtual commandment that potato puree accompany the protein. We kids made a well in the potatoes that Mom would carefully fill with gravy. Today, many shun the dish as carb & calorie heavy. Poor dears don’t know what they’re missing. 🙂
          Moderation is the key.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Welcome, Jennifer. The success of this dish lies in its simplicity. Its few ingredients combine to make a delicious dish. It’s what I love most about traditional Italian cooking. You don’t need a laundry list of ingredients to make a fantastic meal.
      Thanks for the visit and for taking the time to comment.

      Liked by 1 person

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