Carbonara is an Italian dish from mighty Rome made with hard cheese, eggs, pepper, and cured pork.
It is a simple yet deliciously creamy dish that can be tossed together with just a few ingredients you already have on hand: pasta, bacon, eggs, freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, and freshly ground black pepper. The trick to making a sweet, creamy Carbonara is to precisely control the heat when you beat the eggs into the boiling pasta. If you do it wrong, and you end up with pasta and scrambled eggs. If this happens, don’t through it away, it will taste good, but the texture won’t be quite as eye-catching. Just follow the recipe below, and your pasta dish will be creamy and beautifully rich. Buon appetito!
- 1 pound of pasta (serves three people)
- 4 large eggs (3 egg per person + a spare)
- 0.75 pound of bacon, washed and sliced
- 2 cups of Pecorino Romano cheese or freshly grated Parmesan
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Olive Oil
- Put a pot of cold water on to boil. (the calculation usually is 3.5 quarts of water per pound of pasta)
- While the water is boiling, wash and nicely slice the bacon into small pieces and place in a cold saucepan. Turn the heat to medium-low and slowly render the bacon until crispy and golden brown. You can drain off some of the excess fat but leave at least 2 Tbsp. in the pan to ready the sauce. Turn the heat to medium-low to keep it warm.
- While the bacon is getting ready, whisk together 1 cup of the grated cheese, the eggs, and a freshly ground pepper in a bowl until well blended. No need to mix salt as the bacon has plenty. Keep it aside.
- When the water is at a bubbly boil, add a heaping Tbsp. of salt and drop in the pasta. Stir gently to check it from sticking as the mix comes back to a boil. Cook according to package instructions, occasionally stirring, until cooked (al dente) but still firm to the bite. Just before completely draining, reserve a ½ cup or so of the starchy pasta water. Keep it aside.
- Drain the pasta immediately in a colander (but don’t rinse it completely! the starchy water helps mix the sauce properly). Return the warm pasta to the hot pot, off the heat.
- Carefully add the bacon and oil to the pasta, scraping the saucepan with a rubber spatula to get every morsel of deliciousness. Stir well to properly coat the pasta with the hot oil.
- Slowly pour in the egg mix, stirring quickly as you go to keep the eggs from baking too fast. Put the pot back on low-medium heat and go on stirring. Add a splash of the leftover pasta water and a ½ cup of freshly grated cheese. Stir continually to even out the sauce as it heats through. If the eggs are browning too fast, take the pot off the heat or turn the heat to low. The pasta will keep absorbing the sauce after it has been plated, so you want it just a bit on the outside when you serve it.
- Plate the pasta, garnish with the leftover grated cheese, and a few fresh ground black pepper cranks to taste. Th black pepper’s spiciness goes really well with the sauce’s richness.