Linguine Verdi al Guanciale

James Beard

Author and Educator

Guanciale, the cured fat from a hog’s jowl, can be purchased at specialty Italian food stores, but can otherwise be hard to find. Feel free to substitute pancetta, which is more readily available. Pancetta is the Italian version of American bacon and it’s often used to flavor pasta dishes in Italian cuisine. It differs from American bacon in that it is unsmoked and is cured with a mixture of herbs, spices, and garlic.


  • 8 to 10 medium leeks
  • 1/2 pound sliced guanciale (or pancetta), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 to 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound store-bought green (spinach) linguine or other pasta
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley


Trim off the root ends and most of the green parts of the leeks. Cut in half lengthwise and wash thoroughly under running water to remove the grit. Cut into julienne strips and pat dry with paper towels; set aside.

In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, sauté guanciale (or pancetta) until golden and crisp, about 8 minutes. Remove guanciale with a slotted spoon into a bowl, leaving rendered fat. Reduce heat to medium and add 2 tablespoons butter, leeks, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and nutmeg. Sauté briskly until the leeks are softened, about 10 minutes. Add heavy cream and bring to a boil; simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in half of the Parmesan cheese.

Cook the pasta to al dente in a large pot of boiling salted water, drain, and add to the pan. Add crispy guanciale and parsley, toss together. Serve with the rest of the cheese and freshly ground black pepper on the side.


Adapted from James Beard's original recipe. Recipe photo and food styling by Judy Kim.


6 servings