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Pasta alla Zozzona Recipe


Pasta alla Zozzona Recipe – Pasta alla Zozzona means “dirty pasta“.

Born in the southeastern countryside just a few miles outside the city, zozzona is rustic tavern fare made for chasing with a glass of wine.

The over-the-top dish defies nearly every convention of Roman pasta.

Pasta alla Zozzona Recipe – While the recipes of the city’s signature quartet (carbonara, Amatriciana, cacio e pepe, and gricia) coax big flavor from minimal ingredients, their countryside cousin takes more of a kitchen sink approach, featuring Italian sausage, guanciale, onions, tomatoes, Pecorino, egg, and black pepper. 


Pasta alla Zozzona Recipe

An unorthodox union of carbonara and Amatriciana, this “dirty,” lesser-known Roman pasta dish is peak decadence.

Because this pasta is quite rich, serve it in slightly smaller portions with a green vegetable or salad.

Guanciale (cured pork jowl) adds savory depth and richness to this dish.

If guanciale is unavailable, use the highest-quality pancetta you can find; be sure to buy a 5-ounce chunk and not presliced or prediced.

Do not use bacon; its smoky flavor will overpower the dish.

Passata is an uncooked tomato puree usually found near the other tomato products in the grocery store; if you’re buying the Pomì brand it may be labeled “strained tomatoes.”

If you cannot find passata, you can use tomato puree instead.

Slice guanciale into ¼-inch-thick strips, then cut each strip crosswise into ¼-inch pieces.

Heat guanciale and oil in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until fat is rendered and guanciale is starting to brown, 4 to 6 minutes.

Add sausage and onion and cook, using wooden spoon to break meat into pieces no larger than ½ inch, until sausage is no longer pink, 8 to 10 minutes.

Stir in passata; reduce heat to medium-low; and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until fat is fully incorporated, 2 to 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring 2 quarts water to boil in large pot.

Add pasta and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until al dente.

Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to pot.

Add tomato-meat sauce to pasta.

Set pot over medium-low heat and stir until pasta is well coated, about 1 minute.

Whisk Pecorino, egg yolks, and pepper in medium bowl until combined.

Slowly whisk ½ cup of reserved cooking water into egg yolk mixture (mixture will not be smooth).

Off heat, stir egg yolk mixture into pasta until sauce looks glossy and is slightly thickened, about 1 minute.

Adjust sauce consistency with remaining reserved cooking water if needed.

Transfer pasta to platter and serve immediately, passing extra Pecorino separately.

Pasta alla Zozzona Ingredients

5 ounces guanciale
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
5 ounces sweet Italian sausage, casings removed, broken into 1-inch pieces
½ cup finely chopped onion
¾ cup passata
8 ounces rigatoni
table salt for cooking pasta
1 ounce Pecorino Romano cheese, grated fine (½ cup), plus extra for serving
2 large egg yolks
¼ teaspoon pepper

Pasta alla Zozzona Recipe

Pasta alla zozzona is a fusion of two Roman classics, Amatriciana and carbonara, with pork sausage and onions added in to send the pasta over the top.

“Zozzona,” a Roman dialect word for dirty, references the dish’s rich flavor and the unusual mash-up of ingredients that makes it unrecognizable on the plate.

Pasta alla Zozzona Recipe – To create a meaty, creamy, and decadent pasta that reflected the true tradition of pasta alla zozzona, use equal parts guanciale and Italian sausage to double down on pork flavor and to create significant amounts of pork fat that emulsified into the pasata to create a creamy, not greasy, sauce.

Egg yolks and Pecorino Romano infused further creaminess into the sauce.

Rigatoni’s tubular shape is ideal for cradling the glossy sauce and chunks of guanciale and sausage.

Pasta alla Zozzona Recipe Notes

Pasta alla Zozzona Recipe – A luxurious, meat-forward profile.
Using a 50/50 mix of pork sausage and guanciale ensures that pork is the primary flavor of the dish.

The two pork products supply different textures and create ample rendered fat to infuse the dish with meatiness.

Pasta alla Zozzona Recipe – An ultrarich sauce cut with brightness

Pork fat creates an unctuous, meaty sauce, while bright, fresh passata balances the richness.

Pasta alla Zozzona Recipe – A cohesive dish with meat in every bite.

A tubular shaped pasta, such as rigatoni or mezze maniche, is crucial for this dish, as the tubular shape holds nuggets of guanciale and sausage and pockets of creamy sauce.

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