Italian Regional Recipes Lazio Primi Piatti: Pasta, Rice, Soups

Carbonara

Pasta Alla Carbonara or simply Carbonara, is a typical rustic dish from Lazio region where Roma is located. It’s one of the most famous Italian recipes although it is now identified as a classic of Roman cuisine.

One of the main ingredients is Guanciale, an Italian cured pork jowl guanciale-italian-cured-pork-jowl.

Here is some useful tips to prepare the classic Carbonara at home, as if you were in Rome:

  1. Don’t add cream – not even a drop.
  2. Onion, garlic, oil, butter, parsley are unnecessary.
  3. Pecorino or Parmigiano cheese? The tradition calls for Pecorino Romano.
  4. Do not substitute Guanciale ‘pork cheek/jowl’ with bacon or pancetta – unless you can’t get Guanciale.
  5. Short or long pasta? The one you prefer, we chose the classic rigatoni.
  6. Whole eggs or only yolks? According to the tradition, one should use only yolks to achieve a thicker and more homogeneous sauce. You can substitute one of the yolks for a whole egg if you wish to obtain a less dense cream.
  7. Never combine the eggs whilst pasta it’s still on the stove! You will get scrambled eggs or an omelette – which are good of course but it won’t be a Carbonara.

Serves: 2 | Preparation time: 10 mins | Cooking time: 15 mins

  • Short Pasta of your choice like Maccheroni or Rigatoni: 180 g
  • Guanciale (Pork cheek/jowl): 80 g
  • Pecorino cheese, grated: 60 g
  • Eggs, whole: 1
  • Egg yolks: 2
  • Black pepper: to taste

Method

Beat up the whole egg and the egg yolk in a large bowl which must be big enough to hold all of the pasta at a later stage. Add almost all the grated Pecorino Romano and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper.

Remove the rind and cut Guanciale into slices about 0.5 cm thick, then into strips 5 cm long. Brown them until crispy and the fat melts, turn off the heat and let it cool down. Do not add oil or any other fat since Guanciale already has its own fat and it will melt in the pan during cooking.

Bring salted water to the boil in a pot, then cook pasta until al dente, i.e. 1 or 2 minutes before the cooking time shown on the package.

Allow the pasta to season in the pan with the guanciale for about a minute, then place it in the bowl with the eggs and pecorino sauce, stirring immediately.

Before serving, add a little grated Pecorino cheese and black pepper.

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