If you have read my post about the Italian dinner I made just before taking off for my adventure to Italy, you have probably been waiting on this recipe!
There could be nothing simpler than Spaghetti alla Carbonara, but there is no way in the world I would have thought of making this dish.
It is so simple in fact, it can be overlooked. Not by the Italians however. This dish is a mainstay in this country’s cuisine, and if you can master it, you have begun to scratch the surface of why Italian cooking is so superb.
I make the Carbonara with egg yolks only. It is not the typical method (the whole egg is used), and I’m probably breaking all sorts of rules, but, I love the results. I find the sauce glossy and smooth.
We ate our spaghetti from shallow bowls but I would have been just as happy to stand by the stove with a fork and eat from the pan; Yes, it was that good.
You will need: 4 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 lb Italian Pancetta (bacon will do in a pinch), 1 1/2 cup grate Parmigiano Romano cheese, 6 egg yolks, beaten slightly, 1 lb spaghetti (I used Barilla brand), sea-salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.
1 – Prep everything that needs to be on hand (separate eggs, grated cheese, chop pancetta).
Put water on for pasta and cook according to instructions. Scoop out about a 1/2 cup of pasta water right before you drain the cooked pasta, and reserve. *It is important to time the pasta to be ready right before you are ready to eat. Gauge about 5 minutes for the water to come to a boil, and about 8 or so minutes for the spaghetti to be cooked*
2 – Put big saute pan on low/medium heat and add the oil. When it has warmed, add the pancetta, and cook until beginning to crisp. Take pan off of heat and set aside.
3 – When spaghetti is cooked, add the reserved pasta water and spaghetti immediately to the pancetta. Add the egg yolks and cheese and toss quickly (with tongs or two wooden spoons). Add some cracked black pepper and sea-salt to taste.
Serve immediately in warmed shallow bowls.