Spaghetti Carbonara (Spaghetti alla Carbonara)

Of the many origin stories about this marvelous dish (a likely one) is in the translation of alla carbonara, “coal worker’s style”. The dish was eaten by Roman coal workers and their abundant use of coarsely ground black pepper resembled coal flakes.

In fact, American essayist and food writer Calvin Trillian, in a 1981 New York Times essay, makes an impassioned case for spaghetti carbonara to replace turkey as the national dish for American Thanksgiving. The dish is famous for inspiring writers to wax poetically about the dish- “If I had to pick five dishes I would take to the grave with me, this would be one,” said Fred Plotkin, the food historian and author of Italy for the Gourmet Traveler, “It’s so good, and if I’m going to the grave, I don’t have to worry about cholesterol”.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara – Spaghetti with Carbonara Sauce

Cooking this simple dish needs to be done with care to create a creamy coating for the spaghetti. Linguini, fettuccine, spaghettini and even penne go great with this dish. If you can't find pancetta, American smoked bacon is a wonderful substitute. The sauce will be ready before the pasta finishes boiling.
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Course: Appetizer, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Central Italy, Italian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: My Hungry Traveler

Equipment

  • Large pot
  • large bowl with whisk
  • Large heavy skillet or wok

Ingredients

  • ½ lb Pancetta in 2, ¼-inch slices (or thick bacon), diced
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 1 clove Garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
  • ¼ cup Dry white wine
  • 1 lb Package dried spaghetti
  • 3 tbsp Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup Pecorino romano cheese, freshly grated
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 3 large Eggs
  • 2 tbsp Parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Add butter, olive oil, and crushed garlic to a frying pan over medium-high heat. When the garlic becomes golden brown, remove it and discard.
    Put diced pancetta into the pan and saute until it becomes crisp around the edges. Add wine and let it boil down, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat.
    Bring 4-5 quarts of water to a boil. Add 2 tbsp salt and then the spaghetti. Follow package for al dente
  • In the large bowl you'll be serving the final dish in, add in the 3 eggs and beat lightly. Mix in both cheeses, parsley, and lots of pepper. Remove ¼ cup water from the boiling pasta and slowly whisk into the egg-cheese mixture.
  • When spaghetti is done to al dente, drain then immediately add to serving bowl with egg mixture. Reheat pancetta pan over high heat and pour whole pan into serving bowl. Toss thoroughly and serve immediately.

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