I live for pasta; I could honestly eat it every day, especially Carbonara. This Roman dish made with egg, hard cheese, cured pork, and black pepper is one of the easiest and tastiest to prepare.
You will find several variations of this recipe. The traditional Italian recipe calls for just eggs, while some American recipes will call for cream instead of eggs. I find that using eggs makes it a lot smoother and balanced, and less heavy. You can also find different techniques and preparation for this dish but the key to a perfect carbonara is to mix the eggs, bacon fat, and pasta water quickly to make sure it incorporates completely to create a smooth and creamy sauce.
Prep time: 10min - Cook time: 30min - Total time: 40min
12 oz. short-grain or long-grain pasta
2 egg yolks
2 whole egg
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
8 slices thick-cut bacon
Kosher Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.
In a medium bowl, whisk eggs and cheese until combined. The consistency will be thick and look like a yellow paste.
Cut the bacon into small pieces. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy, 7-10 minutes.
While the bacon is cooking, add about 1/8 cup of salt to the boiling water (you want it to be salty like the ocean) and cook the pasta 2 minutes short of al-dente. (If the package says 8 minutes, cook it for 5-6).
Once the bacon is cooked, turn off the heat and transfer the cooked pasta directly from the boiling water into the skillet with the bacon (use a large slotted spoon or cooking tons). Toss until the pasta is fully coated with the bacon fat. (If there is too much fat from the bacon, remove some before transferring the pasta)
Pour egg and cheese mixture into the skillet with the pasta and bacon, and stir vigorously until cream. Add pasta water a couple of tablespoons a time to loosen the sauce if necessary.
Add the freshly ground pepper to taste, and season with salt to taste.
Serve immediately, topped with more cheese.
- Don’t be afraid while seasoning the pasta water, it should be as salty as seawater. Pasta water is liquid gold, it thickens and seasons any type of pasta sauce.
- You can use your favorite pasta shape; I find that the sauce coats rigatoni, spaghetti, and penne perfectly.
- Feel free to substitute Bacon with Guanciale or Pancetta.
- You can use just one cheese, I like the combination of both!