Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Sophia Loren is famous for saying, “Everything you see I owe to pasta!”  

She’s a smart lady. Pasta is everything. This recipe for carbonara will make you happy. It will, I promise.

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For me, carbonara brings my heart and my mind straight to Roma. It’s the quintessential, hearty, Roman dish. I love that carbonara requires very little ingredients, yet tastes so rich and decadent.

It’s also an amazing hangover cure. We are talking guanciale, an Italian meat that is akin to bacon and we combine it with eggs and cheese. The ultimate comfort food.

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Here’s how I make it:

Ingredients:

  • 3 room temperature eggs
  • 1/2 pound pancetta, cut into thick, but small cubes
  • 1 pound of spaghetti
  • flat leaf Italian parsley, for garnish
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiana Reggiano
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced

Start out by boiling water in a pasta pentola, or similar. Once boiling, add the pasta and cook al dente, reserving a ladle’s worth of pasta water afterwards.

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Meanwhile, prepare the egg and cheese mixture. In a mixing bowl, grate the fresh cheeses. Sometimes, I only use one kind if it’s what I have on hand. Into the grated cheese, add three eggs that have been sitting at room temperature. Whisk to combine fully.

In a large skillet or essential pan, heat the olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook until golden and slightly crispy. About five minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for one minute. Pour the wine into the pan, scraping the browned bits from the bottom and cook until the liquid reduces by half and you no longer smell the alcohol.

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The next steps are crucial. It is important that the pan remains hot but not boiling. You have to be attentive to the dish so as not to scramble the egg mixture.

Once the pancetta has cooked down, remove from the heat and immediately add in the pasta and the pasta water. Toss quickly to coat the pasta with the pancetta and the renderings. Pour in the egg and cheese mixture, making quick work to coat the pasta with the egg mixture, where the heat from the pasta warms the coating, but does not scramble or overcook the eggs. It should look creamy and slightly yellow in color.

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Add black pepper and salt, to taste. Toss and plate into a serving dish. Garnish with the flat leaf Italian parsley. Serve and enjoy!

 

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