There’s one thing I really love, and that’s the taste of authentic recipes that I can always turn to when I’m feeling homesick.
Carbonara is one of those. Not so much because we would eat it a lot at home in Rome — my mom doesn’t love it because of the use of raw eggs in it — but because it is a staple of my goings-out to eat with friends at a spaghetteria in our neighborhood which we truly love. I have a friend who basically lives off of it, and if you saw her in person you would not believe since she weighs about 80 pounds. Carbonara is quick and easy to make, and that’s all she cares about.
Also, my dad claimed to be able to make the best Carbonara ever. Unfortunately, I never had the chance to taste it. So whenever I prepare it, I try to imagine the way he would do it, and I think about him a lot. This time I think I got it perfect, and I believe he would love it too. So this goes out to him!
I say that “this time” I got it perfect because in the past I failed at it multiple times. This recipe is extremely simple, but it can be very tricky. The egg mixture needs to blend with the pasta perfectly, reaching the right creaminess. It almost needs to coat the pasta like a butter sauce — if the final result is too runny or liquid, you messed up. After a few trials and a few errors, I will stick to this recipe forever.
Don’t be worried about the presence of raw egg in this recipe: the trick is to mix the egg+cheese+pancetta mixture with the piping hot pasta, which makes it so that the egg&cheese cream reaches the perfect temperature and makes it safe to eat.
Spaghetti alla Carbonara
You are going to need:
– 1 egg and 1 yolk;
– 50 grams of grated Pecorino cheese (~1/2 cup);
– 1 pack of diced Pancetta Citterio (4 oz);
– Optional: Black pepper.
1) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a large bowl, whisk the egg and the yolk with a fork, then add the Pecorino cheese and mix until it feels pasty:
2) Toast the pancetta in a skillet until crispy. No need to add extra oil, the pancetta fat will do the job:
3) Let the pancetta cool down a little, then add it to the egg+cheese mixture:
4) Weigh your spaghetti and cook them al dente:
5) Strain the pasta very well and drop it in the bowl — try to be quick!
6) Mix very well, adding extra Pecorino if you need to/like:
And it’s ready to serve! Now is the time for a sprinkle of freshly grated black pepper (Matthew doesn’t like it so I didn’t use it) and for some extra cheese: