If someone were to ask me what my favorite pasta dish was, this would undoubtedly be it. It is almost a laughably simple dish, and really has to be done with guanciale (and not a pancetta sub) or you miss the whole experience entirely. If you ever see a recipe for pasta alla gricia that has anything other than guanciale and cheese, ignore it! —sumradagnoth
extra-virgin olive oil
guanciale, thinly sliced into wide ribbons
Bring a pot of boiling, copiously salted water to boil.
Add guanciale to a cold pan with the oil and begin to render the fat from the pork over medium-low heat. Drop the pasta in the boiling water.
Do not let the guanciale turn brown. It should remain soft and translucent. Once it is at that point, add a splash of pasta water to the pan. Lower the heat and keep splashing the pan with water from the pasta pot to keep it from drying out and getting too tight.
Remove pasta 1 minute short of al dente and add it to the pan with the guanciale. Toss to coat for 1 minute, adding pasta water to get the right consistency. Remove pan from heat and add the cheese and toss again.
Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with black pepper, to taste.