Ingredients for 4 servings:
– 500 gms. ‘mezze maniche rigate’ (short ribbed macaroni or other short pasta).
– 500 gms. trimmed ‘guanciale’ from Amatrice.
Guanciale is a type of Italian cured pork made from the cheeks and jowls of the pig. The weight of the guanciale before trimming would be around 700/800 gms.
– 100 gms. ‘Pecorino Romano’ – a strong sheep’s milk cheese.
– Rock salt & freshly ground black pepper.
This is the traditional recipe, handed down from generation to generation since the 18th century:
Remove the rind and any yellow fat from the cured pork.
Dice the pork into small pieces (3 x 1cm. approx) taking care to remove the peppercorns.
Place the diced pork in a large (preferably iron) frying pan without oil and stir regularly over a low flame for about 20 minutes or until the pork is nicely browned.
Remove the pork from the pan with a skimmer or slotted spoon, conserving the melted fat in the pan for later.
Set the pork aside on kitchen paper (old-fashioned straw paper would be ideal) where, as the excess fat is absorbed, it will turn crispy. Bring a pot of cold water to a rolling boil, add the rock salt and then the pasta.
Cook the pasta and drain thoroughly while still “al dente” (firm but tender).
Return the pasta to the pot and stir in the crispy pork and melted fat to taste.
To complete the preparation, add a generous handful of grated pecorino cheese and a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper.