Italy’s ultimate answer to bacon: Guanciale

By November 10, 2010 71 comments Permalink

Italy's ultimate answer to bacon: Guanciale

Bucatini all’amatriciana

A recent year in Italy taught me that the pig is the king of its gastronomic jungle. Italians heart hogs. They prepare every imaginable part in every imaginable manner: cured and roasted and braised, even slow-poached in olive oil. One terrifying morning, in the back of a butcher shop, I ate it raw, slathered on a slice of rustic bread. Surviving the sushi-sausage experience would have been the most memorable encounter with the noble swine had it not been for an introduction to guanciale. At a sleepy trattoria, somewhere in the middle of Italy, I had a plate of pasta steeped in such succulence that I had to ask the owner the secret. “Semplice,” he said, pinching my face, “guancia.”

“Guancia” in Italian means pillow, which is synonymous with cheek. And it’s the facial aspect of the word, and the animal, that found its way into the kitchens of central Italy. Apparently pancetta, the familiar smoked and cured pork belly, simply wasn’t bold enough for rendering purposes, so they went to the face and found a far more profound flavor. To produce guanciale, the jowls of a hog are short-cured (three to four weeks) in salt and sugar and spices. The abbreviated process works well with the jowls’ combination of streaked meat and thick fat. And it’s that fat/meat quotient (as opposed to pancetta, which is meatier) that makes guanciale such a solid base. The fat melts in a hot pan, leaving the tender meat and a silky lipid of smoke and salt that informs but doesn’t overwhelm any soup or sauce.

Guanciale is best as the base of a pasta dish. And the most famous pasta using guanciale is the central Italian wonder known as amatriciana. Not surprisingly, there’s some controversy among the Italians as to the origins of amatriciana. Towns from regions of Abruzzo, Umbria and Lazio claim the superior preparation with appropriate noodle, but (with all due respect to the namesake Lazian town of Amatri) the king versions reign in the trattorias of Rome using the bucatini noodle — a thick spaghetti with a little hole (or “buco”) that runs through it. And, of course, within Rome, there are various versions, each the ultimo.

Regardless, a standard version begins with the guanciale, rendered slowly before taking in slow succession: thin red onions, a touch of red pepper flakes, plum tomatoes, torn basil leaves, and, for the finish, some grated pecorino with a swirl of olive oil and a confetti of basil. What you have is a broad balance of flavors with the guanciale holding it all together. Like most Italian dishes, this is simple to prepare. The challenge is coming up with the same quality of ingredients that are abundant in Italy.

Published on Salon: Italy’s ultimate answer to bacon: Guanciale

71 responses to “Italy’s ultimate answer to bacon: Guanciale”

  1. Say, you got a nice blog post.Thanks Again.

  2. Allie Nitz says:

    I’m not sure exactly why but this web site is loading extremelyslow for me. Is anyone else having this issue or is it a problem on my end?I’ll check back later and see if the problem still exists.

  3. I appreciate you sharing this blog article. Much obliged.

  4. What’s Taking place i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I have found It
    absolutely useful and it has helped me out loads.

    I’m hoping to contribute & assist other customers like its aided me.

    Great job.

  5. Myles says:

    Hi there, I enjoy reading all of your post. I like to write a little comment to support you.

  6. One thing I’d like to say is that often before obtaining more computer system memory, consider the machine into which it will be installed. In case the machine will be running Windows XP, for instance, the particular memory limit is 3.25GB. Applying over this would just constitute a waste. Be sure that one’s motherboard can handle your upgrade amount, as well. Great blog post.

  7. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you
    wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with a few pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than that,
    this is great blog. A great read. I will definitely be back.

  8. gamefly says:

    Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed!
    Extremely useful information specifically the final phase 🙂 I care for such info
    a lot. I used to be seeking this certain info for a very long time.
    Thank you and good luck.

  9. gamefly says:

    I was pretty pleased to discover this web site.
    I want to to thank you for ones time due to this fantastic read!!
    I definitely appreciated every part of it and i also have
    you saved to fav to look at new stuff in your blog.

  10. It’s not my first time to pay a visit this site, i am browsing
    this website dailly and get good facts from here every day.

  11. What’s up to every single one, it’s in fact
    a good for me to visit this web site, it consists of priceless

  12. Very quickly this web site will be famous among all blog people, due to it’s pleasant posts

  13. g says:

    What’s up everyone, it’s my first pay a quick visit at this website, and post is
    in fact fruitful in support of me, keep up posting these content.

  14. g says:

    This article is really a fastidious one it assists new net
    visitors, who are wishing in favor of blogging.

  15. Someone necessarily assist to make significantly articles I’d state.
    That is the very first time I frequented your website page and
    up to now? I surprised with the research you made to make this particular submit incredible.
    Great task!

  16. I have read so many content on the topic of the blogger lovers however this post is in fact
    a good article, keep it up.

  17. Hello there, just became alert to your blog through Google,
    and found that it is really informative. I am gonna watch out for brussels.
    I will be grateful if you continue this in future. Numerous people will be benefited from
    your writing. Cheers!

  18. I enjoy reading an article that will make men and women think.
    Also, thank you for allowing me to comment!

  19. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my
    own blog and was wondering what all is needed to get setup?
    I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty
    penny? I’m not very web savvy so I’m not
    100% certain. Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you

  20. I am sure this article has touched all the internet people, its really really fastidious paragraph on building up new webpage.

  21. This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger.
    I have joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your great post.
    Also, I have shared your website in my social networks!

  22. What you typed made a bunch of sense. However, what about this?
    what if you wrote a catchier title? I mean, I don’t want to tell
    you how to run your blog, but suppose you added something that makes people desire more?
    I mean Italy’s ultimate answer to bacon: Guanciale | Andrew Cotto is kinda vanilla.
    You ought to peek at Yahoo’s front page and see how they create
    news titles to grab people interested. You might add a video
    or a related picture or two to get people excited
    about everything’ve got to say. Just my opinion, it would bring your posts a little bit more

  23. KelPseurb says:

    Second Day Reaction Side Effects Keflex Aciclovir Tablets 400mg viagra online prescription Buy Rx Online Medicines

  24. I like what you guys are usually up too.

    This sort of clever work and coverage! Keep up the great works guys
    I’ve incorporated you guys to our blogroll.

  25. you’re truly a excellent webmaster. The web site loading speed is incredible.
    It seems that you are doing any unique trick. Also, The contents are masterpiece.
    you have performed a wonderful activity in this topic!

  26. Hi, I read your blogs like every week. Your story-telling style is awesome,
    keep it up!

  27. For most up-to-date information you have to go
    to see internet and on internet I found this web
    site as a finest site for newest updates.

  28. seo belgie says:

    Nice post! Thank you.

  29. KelPseurb says:

    Costo Cialis In Farmacia Viagra Online Express Direct Elocon Medicine No Prior Script п»їcialis Cialis Kamagra In Linea Vente De Viagra Sans Ordonnance

  30. Normally I don’t read post on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very forced me to try and do so!
    Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thank you, quite great article.

  31. Free Stuff says:

    Yet another issue is that video games are generally serious in nature with the major focus on knowing things rather than leisure. Although, it comes with an entertainment element to keep children engaged, each and every game is usually designed to work towards a specific group of skills or course, such as math or scientific disciplines. Thanks for your article.

  32. Like!! Great article post.Really thank you! Really Cool.

  33. Google says:


    Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a couple of unrelated information, nonetheless actually really worth taking a appear, whoa did one particular find out about Mid East has got additional problerms too.

  34. KelPseurb says:

    Generische Apotheke Xenical Orlistat Buy Online Uk cialis 20mg price at walmart Nsu Treatment Antibiotic Azithromycin

  35. I have been checking out some of your articles and i can claim pretty good stuff. I will definitely bookmark your site.

  36. Thanks a lot for sharing this with all of us you actually know what you are talking about! Bookmarked. Kindly also visit my site =). We could have a link exchange contract between us!

  37. Don Karl Juravin

    […]please take a look at the internet sites we comply with, such as this a single, as it represents our picks from the web[…]

  38. bændelorm hund

    […]please go to the web pages we adhere to, like this one, as it represents our picks through the web[…]

  39. beautiful Arab women

    […]although web-sites we backlink to below are considerably not connected to ours, we really feel they’re basically really worth a go by, so have a look[…]

  40. vibrator unboxing

    […]always a big fan of linking to bloggers that I love but do not get a great deal of link really like from[…]

  41. SUC Elibrary says:

    SUC Elibrary

    Explore electronic resources for free, thousands of eBooks, accounting eBooks, business eBooks, Marketing eBooks, Accounting eBooks, Banking eBooks, Design eBooks, Customers eBooks, Travel and Tourism eBooks… and more

  42. sex toy shopping challenge

    […]always a significant fan of linking to bloggers that I enjoy but do not get lots of link like from[…]

  43. سكس اول مره

    […]Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a handful of unrelated data, nonetheless genuinely really worth taking a look, whoa did one particular master about Mid East has got a lot more problerms as well […]

  44. appliance repair coquitlam (604) 404-1677

    […]Sites of interest we have a link to[…]

  45. adam’s true feel dildo

    […]just beneath, are quite a few absolutely not associated web-sites to ours, having said that, they’re certainly really worth going over[…]

  46. agen poker indonesia terpercaya

    […]here are some hyperlinks to internet sites that we link to simply because we think they’re worth visiting[…]

  47. Union Station drop off and pick up

    […]usually posts some very fascinating stuff like this. If you are new to this site[…]

  48. Parasite backlink SEO works well 🙂

  49. sex toy review

    […]although sites we backlink to below are considerably not connected to ours, we really feel they may be in fact worth a go via, so have a look[…]

  50. KelPseurb says:

    Diflucan Epocrates Online cialis 5 mg Baclofene Indication Pyridium Without Perscription Kaufen Cialis

  51. silicone penis ring

    […]we like to honor a lot of other internet internet sites on the net, even when they aren’t linked to us, by linking to them. Below are some webpages really worth checking out[…]

  52. product review and testing

    […]Here is a superb Weblog You may Uncover Interesting that we Encourage You[…]

  53. best undetected csgo hacks free

    singularity offers premium & free undetected csgo cheats with predefined configs that are updated frequently with 24/7 support.

  54. Mail says: Mail

    […]Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine several unrelated data, nevertheless actually worth taking a search, whoa did 1 discover about Mid East has got more problerms as well […]

  55. I’m gone to inform my little brother, that he should also visit this website
    on regular basis to get updated from newest gossip.

  56. minoxidil 15%

    […]check below, are some completely unrelated web sites to ours, nevertheless, they’re most trustworthy sources that we use[…]

  57. Philadelphia Elibrary

    Explore electronic resources for free, thousands of eBooks, accounting eBooks, business eBooks, Marketing eBooks, Accounting eBooks, Banking eBooks, Design eBooks, Customers eBooks, Travel and Tourism eBooks… and more

  58. Google says:


    Check below, are some absolutely unrelated sites to ours, having said that, they are most trustworthy sources that we use.

  59. vibrating ring

    […]below you will come across the link to some internet sites that we believe it is best to visit[…]

  60. ایرانی پورن

    […]the time to study or visit the content material or web-sites we’ve linked to below the[…]

  61. Yt Mp3 says:

    Yt Mp3

    […]please visit the web sites we follow, such as this a single, as it represents our picks from the web[…]

  62. prostate vibrating massager

    […]please stop by the websites we adhere to, which includes this 1, as it represents our picks through the web[…]

  63. banned roulette system

    […]The information mentioned inside the report are a few of the most effective readily available […]


    […]always a large fan of linking to bloggers that I like but don’t get a great deal of link appreciate from[…]

  65. hosting says:


    […]The information and facts talked about within the write-up are a number of the top out there […]

  66. KelPseurb says:

    Propecia Doses Does Amoxicillin Work On Dogs cialis 20mg price at walmart Zithromax Bladder Infection The Purple Pharmacy Oral Jelly Kamagra Congestion Nasale

  67. steel fencing cape town

    […]we came across a cool internet site that you simply might appreciate. Take a search if you want[…]

  68. Aw, this was a very good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to create a
    good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a whole lot
    and don’t seem to get anything done.

  69. http //

    […]Every once inside a even though we select blogs that we study. Listed below would be the latest internet sites that we select […]

  70. BLK-418 says:


    […]just beneath, are quite a few completely not connected internet sites to ours, even so, they are surely worth going over[…]

Leave a Reply to Myles Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *