Let’s make a Carbonara like the Roman Gods intended. Well, it may not have been the Roman Gods, but I am sure their influence was somewhere nearby. There are a few myths on how Carbonara came about, but the most likely is World War II story. In 1943, when Italy was liberated by the USA, the US troops who were stationed there had a strong preference for eggs and bacon – and a huge supply of both. It is said that a local Roman taverna owner took some of their eggs and bacon and with a little magic in the kitchen, the Carbonara was born, creating one of the most popular pasta recipes in the world. Oh, and fun fact, it has no heavy cream in it :)
1 (500g or ½ kg) pack of Spaghetti
5 egg yolks – (the rule is 1 yoke per person and 1 for the pot)
160g (1½ cup) guanciale diced into pieces (Italian jowl bacon) - 40 g per person
120g (1¼ cup) freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese - 30 g per person
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt for the water
Carbonara is interesting because it only comes out correctly when you follow this exact sequence. It is mostly about timing so follow this sequence as if an Italian Nonna was watching you.
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. Once boiling, generously salt the water.
At the same time, heat a large skillet over medium flame. Dice the guanciale and sauté for about 3 minutes, or until the meat is crispy and golden and the rendered fat is glistening in the pan and begging you to eat it.
Important! Now the skillet flame is turned off. The reason for this, is you want the pan to cool so it doesn’t scramble your eggs later.
Add the pasta and cook until al dente (tender to the tooth).
While the pasta is cooking, whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl, then add grated pecorino romano cheese and whisk until the ingredients are well combined. Scrrrranch pepper into the egg yolk mix. If you like a little more pepper, don’t be shy!
Using your slotted spoon, take out some guanciale and stir them into the egg yolk mixture to get that taste spread throughout the mix.
When the pasta is perfectly al dente, scoop out about 1/2 cup of the pasta water, set aside, then drain the pasta.
Put the pasta into the skillet with the guanciale.
Pour the egg mixture over the pasta, add some pasta water (tears of the Roman Gods) and stir constantly until the eggs thicken. The residual heat from the pasta will cook the eggs a little and thicken it into a cream. If the sauce is too thick, use a little more pasta water to make it into a sauce.
Plate it delicately with love and top it off with a little more Pecorino Romano.
When tasting it, make eye contact with someone at the table, shake your head in disbelief and say – Just Gorgeous.