Friday, April 2, 2010

Spaghetti Carbonara

I love Saveur magazine. It's so educational. By reading each issue from cover to cover you can learn a ton about food from a number of different countries and cultures. The recipe for this Carbonara was slightly modified from one that recently appeared in an article on classic Roman cuisine.

It is so freaking good. Easy to make, pleasurable to eat and the leftovers are delicious. This dish is a win. Pair it with a salad and a glass of wine and you'll be loving all over your life.

I had to make a few substitutions, simply because I couldn't find bacon from a pig jowl. I also refused to use Parmesan cheese. When I think Parmesan, I think cheap, waxy knock offs of the classic Parmigiano-Reggiano. If you can't find Reggiano, Reggianito from Argentina would work great. My wife picked up a firm Romano that was a great stand in.

Spaghetti Carbonara

4-5 servings

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 ounces thinly sliced guanciale, pancetta or thick cut bacon cut into 1/2" pieces
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 3/4, cups finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, Reggianito or firm Romano, divided
1 egg plus 3 yolks
Kosher salt to taste
Italian parsley, chopped for garnish
1 lb. spaghetti

1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally until lightly brown, 4-6 minutes. Add pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes longer.

2. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and let cool slightly. (You don't want the eggs to scramble when they are added.)

3. Stir in 1 1/2 cups cheese, egg and yolks and stir to combine. Set aside.

4. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente, about 10-12 minutes. Reserve 3/4 cup of the water.

5. Drain pasta and transfer it to the bowl with the bacon mixture. Toss, adding pasta water a little at a time to make a creamy sauce. Season with salt and pepper, then garnish with the remaining cheese and parsley.

When adding salt to the water for the spaghetti, it should "taste like the sea." It needs to be salty. A tablespoon at least.

When grating the cheese, a microplane works fast and beautifully.


  1. Comforting, delicious and our home smells sensational! The chewy, salty bacon, the tangy, vibrant Romano, al dente pasta and snipped fresh Italian parsley - all sent from heaven!

  2. I made your recipe and it is GOOOOOOOD.