Friday, August 26, 2022

Pasta Alla Gricia

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I watch a lot of Italian television. One of my favorites, as I also mentioned back then, is a series called "Bulletproof Heart." The lead in the series, Bruno Palmieri, played by Gigi Proietti, a retired journalist who dedicated his retirement to solving cold cases, reminded me very much of an Italian version of one of my former English professors who told me that my eventual husband would be the perfect man for me. I found him quite endearing, particularly enjoying the scenes of him in the kitchen. In the final episode of the series he made something called Pasta alla Gricia that I just had to try. He made his version with rigatoni, but upon doing a little bit of investigation I decided to try the New York Times recipe for it using spaghetti. I made sure to enjoy it, as Bruno always did, with a nice glass of wine.

 Proietti may not be a name with which you are familiar, but you may have heard him because in addition to be an actor and singer (he released 11 albums), he also appeared in American films including The Appointment (1969), A Wedding (1978), and Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? (1978).

Proietti was also a voice dubber of films and television shows into the Italian language. He has dubbed the voices of actors such as Robert De NiroSylvester StalloneRichard BurtonRichard HarrisDustin HoffmanPaul NewmanCharlton Heston and Marlon Brando. His credits also include the role of the Genie in the Italian version of the Aladdin film series, and Draco in Dragonheart. He also provided the Italian voice of Gandalf in The Hobbit film series, as well as Sylvester from Looney Tunes during the 1960s.

 In searching to find out if there was a series 4, I came upon the devastating news that this wonderful, charming actor, passed away in 2020 from a heart attack at the age of 80. RIP Gigi, this is for you.

Pasta Alla Gricia

By Mark Bittmann, and seen in The NY Times

 8 oz. guanciale (cured pig’s jowl)*, cut into ¼” pieces

½ t. finely ground black pepper, plus a pinch

¾ lb. tonnarelli or other long pasta like linguine or spaghetti

¼ c. finely grated pecorino Romano

 Cook the guanciale in a large skillet over medium heat until deeply golden (adjust the heat as necessary to render the fat without burning the meat). The meaty parts should be browned and the fatty parts should be cooked but still slightly transparent. This will take 15 to 20 minutes. When it’s done, add the black pepper and turn off the heat.

 Meanwhile, put a pot of salted water on to boil. When the water boils, cook the pasta until it’s al dente, nearly but not quite done and still a bit chalky in the middle.

 When the guanciale has cooled a bit, and while the pasta is cooking, add 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water to the pan, turn the heat to high and reduce by about half.

 When the pasta is ready, use tongs to transfer it to the pan with the sauce. Stir the pasta as it finishes cooking, adding more pasta cooking water if necessary until the pasta is done and the sauce thick and creamy. Add half the cheese and a pinch of pepper, and stir vigorously to incorporate.

Divide the pasta among four dishes, and dust each with the remaining pecorino.

 *Nope. Not doing it. I used bacon. You can substitute the same, or use pancetta.

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gluten Free A_Z Blog said...

This is such an interesting post. I've never heard of him but his credits are quite impressive. The recipe and the tv series sound wonderful. I'm wondering if you watch it on Netflix or Prime or something else?

Marie Smith said...

I will look for that series. This recipes sounds and looks wonderful and delicious!

Pattie @ Olla-Podrida said...

Judee, I watch it and all other Italian shows on MHz Choice. It’s a subscription service that I wouldn’t be without. Glad that you enjoyed the post.

Linda said...

Lol I'd use bacon too! I'll suggest this to my husband, who normally loves pasta with just a butter sauce. He will love the bacon.

The Tote Trove said...

When I read that this recipe included pig jowl, I was quite taken aback!
But I thought, well, each to her own. Then I noticed the asterisk, and this: "Nope. Not doing it. I used bacon." And I stopped trying to be open-minded and just felt relief! On a more serious note, I loved hearing how Bruno Palmieri reminded you of your professor that told you your husband would be the perfect man for you. What a lovely memory! No wonder you're so invested in Bulletproof Heart.