Pasta alla Carbonara
Pasta carbonara is one of the most famous Italian pastas in the world. Yet, to the frustration of Italians, this dish is rarely made properly. Piero explained how we make the authentic pasta carbonara. And no, no cream is used here. We repeat, no cream!
Piero told us that the name 'Carbonara' comes from the word 'carbonaro', that is how the coal miners used to be called (carbone is coal). They went to work with some handy ingredients and ate this dish during their break. Due to the large amount of fat, protein and carbohydrates, they got through the day with this pasta. Pasta alla carbonara thus means 'pasta the way of the coal miners'. The recipe is originally from the Italian region of Lazio, but is now on the menu throughout Italy.
We use guanciale for this recipe. This is Italian pork cheek bacon, dried with salt and pepper. You can buy this in an Italian delicatessen or butcher. We bought it at the Italian supermarket 'Little Italy' in Rotterdam. If you don't have this nearby, you can use pancetta, which is made from pork belly, but for the real classic dish you need guanciale. This bacon is softer and stronger in taste. In addition, Pecorino Romano is used and therefore no Parmigiano. Pecorino Romano is made from sheep's milk, which makes it a lot fatter and saltier.
Boil the water. You don't need to add salt to the pasta. The pecorino and guanciale are salty enough.
Put the yolks and whole eggs together in a large bowl (the bowl should be large enough to add the pasta later).
For 4 people you use 2 whole eggs and 2 egg yolks. For 3 persons you use 1 whole egg and 3 egg yolks and for 2 persons you use 1 whole egg and 2 egg yolks
Finely grate the pecorino romano.
Cut the guanciale into slices of about half a centimeter thick.
Step 1: Cook the pasta
Add the pasta to the boiling water and prepare according to the instructions on the package
Step 2: Prepare the guanciale
Put the guanciale without oil or other additives in a large cold pan. (Note! Not in a hot pan, otherwise the guanciale will close immediately due to the heat and it will burn). Reduce the heat and let the guanciale melt slowly. The guanciale should be transparent in color. Fry the guanciale until the pieces are slightly crispy.
In the meantime, go to step 3.
Step 3: Prepare the Pecorino-egg mixture
Mix most of the pecorino romano into the eggs and stir to form a smooth sauce. Keep a little bit of cheese for garnish.
Step 4: Prepare the pasta alla carbonara
When the pasta is cooked 'al dente', drain the pasta. Keep a small cup of cooking water aside.
Once the guanciale is slightly crispy, stir a little bit of the fat into the pecorino-egg mixture.
Place the pan with guanciale on high heat and add your pasta to the pan. Stir well. The pasta will absorb any fat that has been released.
Add the pasta with guanciale to the pecorino egg mixture and stir immediately . It is important to stir immediately so that the eggs do not coagulate. If necessary, add some cooking water to make the pasta extra creamy.
Add a good dash of black pepper.
Don't worry, because of the temperature of the pasta, the egg will no longer be completely raw.
Step 5: Serve the pasta
Serve the pasta and sprinkle with the remaining pecorino romano and some pepper.
Buon appetito! ('Enjoy your meal')
Piero and Romee have a mission to bring fresh ingredients from Italy to the Netherlands. They told us why the use of fresh ingredients is so important in Italian cuisine.
200 grams of guanciale (or use pancetta as an alternative)
150 grams of Pecorino Romano
4 eggs (for 2 people: 3 eggs, for 3 people: 4 eggs)
400 gr of fresh spaghetti
Recipe tip: If you don't have eggs at home, you can still make a delicious pasta: the Pasta alla Gricia. The preparation is exactly the same, but instead of eggs you use a little warm water.
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