Pasta alla Gricia and pasta all'Amatriciana: similarities and differences


Two tasty and substantial first courses belonging to the Lazio gastronomic tradition, very similar to each other origins and ingredients but with some important differences to keep in mind if you want to prepare these dishes to perfection. As usual, there are many variations developed over time but to respect tradition it is preferable to stick to the original recipes. The amatriciana, in the white version or the Gricia and in the red one, has in fact been included in the list of Lazio agri-food products.

Let's start from Gricia, the dish that subsequently gave rise to amatriciana. The origins of the name of this pasta seem to derive from the small municipality of Grisciano near Amatrice or from the word "gricio" with which bakers were called in nineteenth-century Rome (starting from one of them who emigrated from the Swiss canton of Grigioni). The preparation of Gricia is quite simple and quick and requires the use of poor ingredients such as bacon, pecorino romano and black pepper. Practically the same ingredients as pasta all'Amatriciana but tomato is added. This is precisely why Gricia comes nicknamed Amatriciana in white although there are those who consider it a variant of cacio e pepe pasta. The choice is quite free regarding the type of pasta to be used: it ranges from the classic bucatini or spaghetti to rigatoni, half rigatoni, tonnarelli or vermicelli.

Gricia has evolved over time into pasta all'amatriciana and can therefore be considered its ancestor. Amatriciana was born in the eighteenth century in the village of Amatrice and then spread widely in Rome thanks to the movement of farmers to the capital due to the sheep farming crisis. Many shepherds began to work in the field of Roman catering and this made it possible to make the Amatriciana - derived from the peasant and poor tradition of their lands - a typical dish of Roman cuisine. In fact, in all typical trattorias a good plate of bucatini all'amatriciana (in Roman) cannot be missing 'matriciana)!

The ingredients are also in this case bacon, pecorino romano and pepper but the main feature is adding tomato sauce of which the first written testimonies are found in a 1790 cooking manual by the chef Francesco Leonardi. The tomato sauce is made with bacon fried in olive oil and blended with dry white wine, pecorino romano and obviously tomato. In the original recipe codified by the Municipality of Amatrice, both for the white and red versions, there are neither garlic nor onion and the spaghetti as a pasta format. However, both amatriciana and gricia are two excellent first courses perfect for the arrival of the winter season to be accompanied with a good glass of medium-bodied red wine.