Thursday, June 26, 2014

Spaghetti Carbonara [Zack]

Carbonara is a pasta dish originating from Rome and is my favorite thing to eat. When we visited Rome, I was on a mission to find the best rendition so I could try to recreate it at home. This is pretty darn close. The ingredient list is extremely short and therefore relies on the quality of the inputs. If you can’t find guanciale (bacon made from pig’s jaw), use pancetta or lightly smoked bacon. If you can’t find a good pecorino romano, use parmesan reggiano.

The recipe has 3 steps: 1. Slowly render the bacon until it becomes crispy 2. Cook the pasta 3. Remove the bacon pan from the heat, add the noodles, and toss the pasta in the rest of the ingredients. The sauce becomes surprisingly creamy due to a combination of eggs, bacon fat, reserved pasta cooking water, and pecorino romano cheese. It’s bliss.


Slice the guancaile into match sticks and place into a cold frying pan. Turn the heat on medium, and let the fat render out of the bacon until it’s crispy and brown. Pour off the fat until about 1T remains and set the pan aside.

Prep your ingredients in advance because the last steps happen quickly. Crack the eggs into a bowl and lightly scramble them. Grate the cheese.

Salt a big pot of water until it tastes like the sea and bring to a boil. Cook your spaghetti until al dente. A few minutes before the pasta is finished, return your frying pan with the bacon to medium heat. Grab a coffee mug and scoop out a cup of the boiling pasta water to use for the sauce later. Strain the noodles.

Take the bacon pan off the heat. Bacon pan, I like the sound of that! Add the spaghetti, pasta water, and cheese, tossing vigorously with tongs to mix. You don’t want the eggs to curdle, which is why you remove the pan from the heat and mix quickly. Crack black pepper until your arm hurts, and serve immediately with a glass of nice Italian wine.

Makes 2 big bowls -
½ lb spaghetti noodles
2 whole eggs, beaten
2T-3T of pasta water
¾ cup Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated
100 grams guanciale chooped in matchsticks (this was about 3 thick slices for me)
freshly ground black pepper
optional:  chopped spring onions or 1 large clove of garlic

Song:  Missy Elliott - Hot Boyz


  1. Great tips, many thanks for sharing. I have printed and will stick on the wall! I like this blog. Spaghetti Carbonara finished