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Guanciale & Mandarin Sugo Recipe

Those of you that made a new year’s resolution to eat less fat should probably skip right past this post and go look at a nice healthy salad. You’ve been warned ? After making my Pasta Amatriciana I had a fair bit of guanciale left. I’d originally set it aside to make a more authentic
Course Entree
Cuisine Italian
Level Beginner
Main Ingredient Pasta, Pork
Diet Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low Sugar


  • 280 grams Guanciale
  • 1 large onion (sliced thinly)
  • 1 medium bulb fennel (sliced thinly)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 medium satsuma mandarins (unpeeled and torn into chunks)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon juniper berries
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground sichuan pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • fennel pollen
  • 340 grams fusilli (cooked according to package directions)


  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. Put the Guanciale into a medium sized dutch oven and put over medium high heat, allowing some fat to render out then frying until browned on both sides. Transfer the Guanciale to a plate and add the onions and fennel.
  3. Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes until the onions and fennel are wilted. Remove the lid and and fry the onions and fennel, stirring regularly until very caramelized (about 45 more minutes). As the water content reduces, you may need to turn the heat down to keep the onions from burning before they fully caramelize.
  4. Add the wine, mandarins, honey, juniper berries, sichuan pepper and black pepper. Stir to combine, mashing up the mandarins a bit. Bring to a boil, cover and put it in the oven. Braise for about 2 1/2-3 hours or until the Guanciale is tender.
  5. When your sugo is done, transfer the guanciale to a cutting board and cut it up into 1/4" pieces and add it back to the sauce. Use a paddle to mash up the mandarin a bit and mix with the Guanciale. Boil the pasta according to the package directions making sure to cook it on the al dente side. Reserve about 1 cup of pasta liquid then drain the pasta. Transfer the pasta back into the empty pot then add the sugo. Drizzle in some of the pasta liquid while stirring until the sauce is a nice consistency and coats the fusilli (you probably won't need all the water).
  6. Plate the pasta and sprinkle a pinch of fennel pollen on top.