Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Posted 14 November 2010 by

Spaghetti alla Carbonara is a classic Italian dish with cheese, pancetta, black pepper and eggs. There are lots of Carbonara recipes on the internet, and several in my cookbooks. One thing seems certain: the seemingly more-authentically Italian recipes don’t include cream, deriving all the creaminess from the cheese & eggs. This is perfect comfort food for a chilly autumn Sunday evening; cheese, bacon, garlic—what’s not to love?! I say bacon as, being a last minute dinner idea on a Sunday night, I have no pancetta and no reasonable chance of getting any. So, bacon will have to suffice. Also, I have no pecorino, just parmesan. Still, I’m doing pretty well!

It looks quite yellow, I think they were particularly yellow eggs.

Here’s what I used (to serve 4):

  • 400 g spaghetti
  • 80 g parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 25 g butter
  • 1 clove garlic (crushed)
  • 3 eggs
  • 100 g bacon (chopped)
  • salt
  • black pepper

This recipe takes about half an hour, including preparation. Put the spaghetti on. While it is cooking, beat the eggs. Heat the butter and start frying the bacon (or pancetta), and then the garlic.

Take the spaghetti out and drain it when it is still al dente, actually slightly under-done. (It carries on cooking when it meets the other ingredients.) Meanwhile the bacon should be nice and crispy. Add the pasta to the pan with the bacon and stir it well. Add the beaten eggs, about half of the parmesan and a generous amount of black pepper. Here’s where it could go wrong, as you don’t really want the eggs to scramble. By luck or judgement, mine were fine and coated the spaghetti nicely, cooking just enough. Add the rest of the cheese and salt, to taste, and serve it up.

The spaghetti alla carbonara was really nice and very creamy. I don’t think cream would make it any better. Next time, I’ll use pancetta (or guanciale if that’s remotely possible to get here) and pecorino.

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