Holy smokes! Guanciale is pork heaven. Like literally. And The Dep is now carrying Brooklyn Cured's version of this smoked slab of pig jowl. If you've never had it before, let me do my best to explain this meaty phenomenon. It's sort of like a mix between melt-in-your-mouth pork belly and Benton's bacon - which are like the two best things in the whole wide world. Guanciale is the perfect component to a killer carbonara, the eye opener in a kicked up BLT (or GLT. if you would), and when fried, it's like if a chicharrón was soaked in awesomeness and then cooked into a light and airy cloud of delicious nothingness. Yeah, you need to try some.
And because I felt like I needed to try some, I figured I'd share a tasty little recipe that is so good it made me cry. Well, that's sort of an exaggeration, I cried for a different reason. But anyways, try some for yourself next time you come into the Dep. After all, 2013 is all about guanciale in my book and how could you resist pork jowl that's seasoned with black pepper, fennel, rosemary and thyme, cured with sea salt and brown sugar then gently smoked over hickory with a bit of cherry wood to give it a hint of fruit. Yeah, babes.
1/2 pack Poschiavo Spaghetti
2/3 cup guanciale, thinly sliced
1 1/2 large onions, roughly diced
1 1/12 garlic bulbs, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Parmesan, shredded (more for serving)
red pepper flakes, salt, pepper
1 pinch sugar
1. Cook pasta according to directions and save 1/4 cup of pasta water.
2. In a cast iron skillet, cook guanciale over medium heat for about 5 minutes until the fat starts to render and it gets all crispy and golden. Remove the meat from the pan and add onions, red pepper flakes (however much you want depending on your tolerance to heat) and a pinch of salt; cook for 5-10 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and cook down until everything is caramelized; about 15 minutes. Add the guanciale back in and set mixture aside.
3. In a large serving bowl, combine cooked pasta, the aforementioned mixture, Parmesan cheese, and pasta water. Gently toss until everything is incorporated and season with salt and pepper. Top with more Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes. Serve immediately.