Carbonara is a very well-known dish, it is considered an Italian classic. However, this dish as it is know today, only came into existence around the end of the second world war, with many varying stories as to its origins. Regardless, this dish is now quintessential among chefs, and everyone has their own "ideal" way of preparing it. This recipe is the one considered to be most "traditional" amongst Italians and is actually very simple contrary to popular belief.
Serves 4 - 5
- 500g of Regal Spaghetti alla Chitarra
- 200g of Guanciale (traditionally used in Italy) or Pancetta cut into small pieces
- 1 Whole egg + 5 egg yolks (Or 6 yolks - traditional Roman-style uses only egg yolks)
- 50g of finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 50g of finely grated Pecorino
- 1tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
Place a pot of salted water on high heat and bring to a boil.
While the water is heating, in a large frying pan begin to sauté the guanciale or pancetta on medium to high heat. This will render the fat out and make the pieces slightly translucent.
There are two different processes you can choose from:
- Option 1: (Traditional Roman-style) the meat is sautéed to a slight crisp/browning and then set aside.
- Option 2: Slowly render the meat and fat with 1/2 cup of white wine at medium-high heat, allowing the meat to become soft, the fat to fully render and become translucent. Once 95% of the fluid has evaporated, turn to high heat and quickly brown the pieces and set the pan aside.
Once the water is boiling, you can add your pasta in, cooking it for 4-5 minutes or until a desired consistency is reached.
While the pasta is cooking, mix your eggs, cheese, and pepper together in a separate bowl, making sure to stir it very well so it creates a creamy paste.
Conserve 1 cup of the water the pasta has cooked in before straining.
Add the strained pasta to the pan with the rendered fat and meat, stir well to evenly distribute the meat and coat the pasta. If it seems like there wasn't enough fat rendered out, you can add a tablespoon or two of olive oil.
Place the pan on medium heat, add the egg mixture and 1/2 a cup of the pasta water into the pan, and stir graciously to cover and amalgamate everything.
Take care to not overcook the mixture and stir constantly, the stirring and folding will cause the pasta to act like a whisk with the eggs, water and cheese, creating a custard-like sauce. If at any point the pasta seems too dry, add the rest of the pasta water you conserved.
Once fully mixed and creamy, plate and serve with a little parmigiano on-top and freshly ground black pepper.