Sunday Pasta®: Rigatoni alla Gricia (Pancetta and Onion)

4 years ago

I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore. I’m fighting mad. Fit to be tied. Go ahead, make my day.  Let’s take this outside. Oh, yeah? Yeah.

I was in a NYC Italian restaurant the other day and I asked the waiter for a menu suggestion. His response, “Well, do you eat pasta?” Astonished, but not really, I simply said, “What?” My look of disgust must have given it away because he defensively replied, “Well, we are in New York City you know.” Yes, I know, New York City (like Los Angeles) where AK-47′s are considered safer than carbohydrates.

I’m tired of all of the pasta bashing. Twenty years ago, Americans ate only carbohydrates and the country was thinner than it is now. The average Italian consumes three times as much pasta as the average American (and that includes our consumption of macaroni and powdered cheese sauce). Other than what is being caused by increased soda consumption, there is no obesity epidemic in Italy. So listen to me all of you black wearing, carbophobe, pasta bullies, you leave my friend pasta alone. A bowl of pasta will not make you fat;  a mountain of pasta may. Eat the pasta, and make it an Italian-sized portion.  It will make you happy. Endorphins and seratonin will set you free. And then take a walk, with a smile on your face. Basta. Enough already.

And just to spite all of you uptight, erudite, urbanites, today I offer the following recipe for Rigatoni alla Gricia: a lovely mixture of fat, salt, dairy, and carbs. It is spectacular in its simplicity and deliciousness, and older than any form of dieting known to mankind. (Just remember, it’s only about 450 calories and you can always juice tomorrow.)

Buon Appetito!

Ed Garrubbo

p.s. Check out our wine pairings to complement this dish as well as our About post on the history of the recipe using pancetta and onions.

Sunday Pasta® Recipe: Rigatoni alla Gricia (Pancetta and Onion)

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4-6


1 lb rigatoni or other tubular pasta
6 oz pancetta, cubed
3 medium onions, sliced very thin
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano, grated
Black pepper to taste


In a large skillet, start sautéing the pancetta, and after a minute or two, add the onion. Cook over low heat until golden. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta, retaining 1 cup of cooking liquid. Add pasta to pancetta and onion and mix well, cooking for minute over medium heat. Add some of the retained water if it looks dry. Place the pasta in serving bowl and add the Pecorino and a generous amount of black pepper. Mix well and serve immediately!

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