Carbonara is probably the most famous Italian pasta dish in the world, now identified as a classic of Roman cuisine along with Amatriciana, although its origin belongs to all the Lazio region.
Few ingredients combined to create a creamy pasta magic in which eggs, guanciale, pecorino and black pepper are the main elements.
Here is some useful tips to prepare the classic Carbonara at home:
- Don’t add cream – not even a drop.
- Onion, garlic, oil, butter, parsley are unnecessary.
- Pecorino or Parmigiano cheese? Tradition calls for Pecorino Romano.
- Guanciale or Pancetta? guanciale definitely. Pancetta only if you can’t get Guanciale.
- Short or long pasta? Better short pasta, like the classic Rigatoni or Mezze Maniche
- Whole eggs or only yolks? One should use only yolks to achieve a thicker sauce. You can substitute one of the yolks for a whole egg if you wish to obtain a less dense cream.
- Never combine the eggs while 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
- Rigatoni or Mezze Maniche 180 g
- Guanciale (Pork cheek/jowl): 80 g
- Pecorino cheese, grated: 60 g
- Eggs, whole: 1
- Egg yolks: 2
- Black pepper: to taste
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.