Photo: Laura Dart
Serves 4

"Pasta alla gricia is a very simple Roman pasta dish consisting of guanciale (cured pork jowl) and pecorino. As I do with many traditional Italian dishes, I use the classic as a springboard for improvisation," says chef Joshua McFadden of Ava Gene's in Portland. "Here I add very thinly sliced snap peas, which creates an amazing texture as well as adds a fresh green note to the otherwise quite rich pasta. And I use my Cacio e Pepe Butter as a perfect shortcut, once again demonstrating that a well-stocked larder means delicious food in minutes."

How to Make It

Step 1

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt until it tastes like the sea.

Step 2

Put guanciale and 2 tsp. olive oil into a skillet or Dutch oven that's large enough to hold all the pasta. Cook until it's lightly crisped and most of the fat has rendered out, 9 to 12 minutes. Take skillet off the heat and spoon off fat except for about 1 tbsp.

Step 3

When water is boiling, add pasta and cook according to package directions until almost al dente. When pasta is almost ready, add snap peas to pasta pot.

Step 4

Put skillet back over medium heat to reheat guanciale gently. With a ladle or a measuring cup, scoop out about 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water. Drain pasta and snap peas and add them to skillet along with cacio e pepe butter. Toss well to incorporate, adding a few drops of pasta water in order to make a cloaking, creamy sauce. Taste and adjust with more salt or pepper, though you probably won't need any.

Step 5

Transfer to serving bowls and top with grated pecorino. Serve right away.

Recipe adapted from Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables, by Joshua McFadden with Martha Holmberg (Artisan Books). Copyright 2017. Ava Gene's, Portland

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