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Pasta alla Zozzona | Rome’s “Dirty” & Delicious Pasta Recipe

“Pasta alla Zozzona” roughly translates to “Dirty Pasta,” a provocative name which you’ll understand when you taste it! It shares the guanciale and cheesy egg sauce of a classic carbonara, but with the addition of onion, tomato, and crumbled sausage. It's kind of like a combination between carbonara and amatriciana, plus sausage and onion. What’s not to love?

Pasta alla Zozzona | Rome’s “Dirty” & Delicious Pasta Recipe

Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we make Pasta alla Zozzona here:


Makes: 2 servings

Cook Time: 30-45 minutes

For this recipe, you will need:

  • 2-3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 white onion, diced

  • 2 oz. (55g) guanciale, skin trimmed and chopped into small cubes

  • 1 Italian pork sausage, removed from the casing

  • 14 oz. (400g) canned whole peeled tomatoes

  • Salt

  • Fresh black pepper

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 oz. (30g) grated pecorino cheese

  • 5.5 oz. (160g) rigatoni pasta

  • Large pan

  • Forks

  • Wooden spoon or spatula

  • Bowl

  • Pasta pot

Add the olive oil and diced onion into a large pan over medium heat. Sauté until the onion is tender and slightly transparent. Add the chopped guanciale and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the meat releases some fat. Next, add the sausage and break it up into a crumble.

Once the sausage is browned, add the whole peeled tomatoes. Break them up with a fork and bring the sauce to a gentle simmer. Season with a generous pinch of salt and black pepper. The sauce should cook for at least 30 minutes. Add a little bit of warm water as needed to keep it simmering and to prevent it from thickening too much.

While the sauce cooks, whisk the egg, grated pecorino and plenty of black pepper into a thick paste in a bowl. Set aside for later.

When the sauce is nearing completion, bring a pot of water to boil and salt it generously. Add the rigatoni and cook for 2-3 minutes less than the recommended “al dente” cook time. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pasta into the sauce. Continue to cook the pasta in the pan, stirring almost constantly, until it is al dente to your taste. Add a little pasta water into the pan as needed if the sauce is too thick to coat the pasta.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the egg/cheese mixture. Serve immediately.

Buon appetito!

If you enjoy Pasta alla Zozzona, then you might like our classic Carbonara recipe and Bucatini all'Amatriciana!

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D. E.
D. E.
Apr 05

My fiancee is a carbonara fiend and recently I made him alla gricia. I knew the next step was alla zozzona so tonight I took the plunge because it was 40th his birthday celebration. I made double the recipe for sauce in two pots since I do not eat meat. In mine, after the onions were about done, I added seasonings you'd find in sausage like fennel, a touch of garlic, etc. My finished dish was every bit delicious with the small flecks of tomato, savory cheese, zippy pepper, and lightly unctuous sauce that crept into some of the rigatoni tubes. Since I didn't want to spend a ton or wait for an even better pasta, I opted for the…


Oct 18, 2023

This was absolutely delicious, now a family favourite. Not at all difficult or fussy to make like cabonara or cacio de pepe.


Andrey Andrew
Andrey Andrew
Oct 01, 2023
I can't get enough of the collection of Louisiana Bayou stock photos. These images are absolutely amazing! They convey all the mystery and beauty of this unique area louisiana bayou pictures. Each photograph seems to draw you into the mysterious world of the bayou, where water, vegetation and local culture merge into one amazing whole.

Sep 30, 2023



Sep 26, 2023

Wow, a very cool recipe and a very cool pasta in general, but I don't actually eat it, which sometimes upsets me quite a bit, I have to eat a side dish only from whole grain products, and various cereals come to my rescue. But sometimes this also makes me so angry that I switch to a completely different food, and when I see whole grains images, I am seriously tempted to delete my social media accounts so that I don't see these cereals at all. It's good that at least you can eat all kinds of meat and potatoes, it's a real salvation that has saved me more than once, but still, following your blog, I want to try…

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