Spaghetti carbonara is made by tossing hot noodles in a mixture of beaten raw eggs and grated Pecorino off the heat. The hot noodles turn the egg-cheese mixture into a creamy mass. No dairy cream is added.
It’s an old Italian dish and no one knows its exact origin. According to Metropolis, however, pasta carbonara first appeared in Rome during World War II. With the city in ruins, cooks were scrambling to make good use of available food stuff. Dried egg from the food ration of American GIs gave birth to what the world knows today as pasta carbonara.
Guanciale, a cured meat made from the cheeks (jowls) of the pig, is traditionally used for pasta carbonara. Pancetta, or cured unsmoked pork belly, is a common substitute. If unable to find either, go for unsweetened belly bacon.
- 120 grams pasta
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 150 grams Pecorino plus more to garnish
- 200 grams pancetta cut into strips
- freshly ground black pepper
- Cook the pasta in about two liters of boiling water with the teaspoon of salt.
- While the pasta cooks, fry the pancetta in a non-stick pan, allowing fat to be rendered.
- While the pancetta browns and the pasta cooks, beat the eggs and grate the Pecorino.
- When the pancetta is nicely browned, scoop out then pour off the fat leaving only a tablespoonful or so.
- Drain the pasta (reserve a quarter cup of the pasta water) and immediately toss in the bacon fat. Turn off the heat.
- Pour the beaten eggs over the Pecorino and whisk.
- Season the egg-Pecorino sauce with pepper then add the pasta.
- Toss the pasta with the sauce. If too thick, add the reserved pasta water, a tablespoon or two at a time, until the sauce is creamy but not too sticky.
- Divide the pasta carbonara among three plates or bowls, sprinkle the bacon over the noodles and top with more grated Pecorino.