Spaghetti Carbonara is a timeless classic in Italian cuisine, known for its simplicity and rich flavors. Originating in the heart of Italy, this dish is a favorite of many and can be prepared with just a few ingredients. The key to an authentic Carbonara lies in the quality of the ingredients: fresh eggs, Italian cheeses, and traditional bacon.
The Authentic Italian Approach
In Italy, carbonara is traditionally made without cream. The combination of eggs, cheese and the starchy pasta water creates a naturally creamy texture. It is essential not to throw away the pasta water as it plays a crucial role in bringing the sauce together.
The Meat: Guanciale or Pancetta
Guanciale, an Italian cheek of bacon, is the traditional choice for carbonara. Alternatively, pancetta, another type of Italian bacon, can be used. Both options offer a delicious salty depth to the dish. The bacon is slowly cured and seasoned, which contributes to the unique taste of the Carbonara.
This recipe is for 4 people
- 150 grams of pancetta or guanciale, cut into small pieces
- 350 grams of spaghetti
- 2 whole eggs plus 2 extra yolks
- 50 grams freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and possibly extra for garnish
- 50 grams of freshly grated Pecorino cheese
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Start by frying the pancetta or guanciale in a pan until crispy. Make sure it doesn't get too dark.
- In the meantime, cook the spaghetti al dente according to the instructions on the package. Don't forget to salt the water.
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and extra yolks. Add both cheeses and a generous amount of black pepper.
- Once the spaghetti is cooked, drain it but reserve about a cup of the cooking liquid.
- Return the spaghetti to the pan, add the fried pancetta or guanciale, and mix well.
- Turn off the heat. Add the cheese-egg mixture to the spaghetti and stir well.
- Gradually add the reserved cooking liquid to make the sauce smoother.
Note: the residual heat of the pan should be enough to thicken the sauce without frying the eggs.
- Serve the pasta with an extra twist of black pepper and some extra Parmesan cheese, if desired.
- Use real Parmesan and Pecorino cheese for the best flavor.
- It is important not to overcook the eggs, so work quickly and at a low temperature.