This simple Roman pasta dish derives its name from 'carbone' meaning coal. It was a pasta popular with the coal miners. The original recipe calls for guanciale, which is pig's cheek, but since its not easily available, the chef has used bacon instead.
1 packet spaghetti
100 g bacon, cut in strips
1 egg yolk
100 g Pecorino Romano or Parmesan - grated
1 Tbsp olive oil
Lots of black pepper - coarsely crushed
Salt to taste
How to Make Pasta Carbonara
In a large pan or a saucepan, heat the olive oil and fry the bacon till crisp. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat the whole eggs and the yollk well. Stir in the grated cheese and set aside.
Boil the spaghetti in abundant salty water. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking water.
In another saucepan, toss the pasta with the egg mixture, bacon and any fat rendered from cooking the bacon, over very low heat.
Make sure that the individual strands of pasta are all coated properly with the mixture. Season with salt, add the pasta water, give it a quick toss, and remove right away from the heat.
The sauce should have a creamy texture, which will be lost if the pasta remians on the fire for too long.
The idea is to cook the egg with the heat of the pasta, and not with the heat of the fire.
Serve right away with lots of pepper, freshly crushed in a pepper mill, and more Parmesan if desired.
Words from the chef Many of us believe that carbonara is a cream sauce. It is not! The creaminess of the sauce comes from eggs and cheese. If you add cream, you'll have different pasta altogether. A good one, I'm sure, but definitely not a carbonara.