Ok, I confess that I’ve sinned! Putting parsley on top and not using Spaghetti for Carbonara is a blasphemy for my Italian Chef. But I had reasons and at least I didn’t use cream like the most. I think the Linguine holds on better to that great sauce and parsley is giving freshness to the plate with its color and perfume. Except those small -but horrible- details, this is a good, true to its roots recipe!
For me the most important part of this classic is using Guanciale. It is the dried and aged pork cheek which has more fat and flavor than Pancetta or Bacon. Of course it is hard to get and you could replace it with others but It won’t be the same.
100gr Linguine (Originally Spaghetti)
2 Egg Yolks
30gr Pecorino Romano
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 Teaspoon Salt
1-First we will mix the egg yolks and the cheese thoroughly. It will be like a thick paste but don’t worry pasta water will loosen it later. Add black pepper as much as you like. If you don’t like the heavy taste of sheep Pecorino, you may exchange it with Parmigiano. (Sin!)
2-An important point is the salt ratio of the pasta water. Normally a lot of salt in water is crucial for most pasta dishes. But in Carbonara we have a lot of salty cheese and cured meat. So we don’t want to salt the water too much because we will use some of that starchy water for sauce too.
3-We’ll start cooking the pasta and be careful about timing. We want to cook it until 1min before Al dente, so we could finish it on pan with sauce to perfection. (You know that you “must” eat it Al dente…right?)
4-While it is cooking we’ll cut the Guanciale as small strips. Not too thin or thick, 4-5mm will do. In a pan we’ll slowly melt its fat first on mid heat. When it is rendered, the heat will get higher to crisp them up a bit.
5-We’ll toss the nearly cooked pasta into the pan after sieved and keep some of that pasta water. We should coat the pasta with fat really good. Now we will loosen the egg mix with 2 tablespoons of starchy water.
6-Turn the gas off of the pan and add a little bit of pasta water here too before adding the eggs. Remaining heat will be enough to cook the mixture and even turn them into scrambled eggs if you don’t mix it fast. Liquid will keep the pasta saucy too so don’t be scared to add a little bit of it to play it safe.
Combining all together & Plating:
Plate it and sprinkle some more cheese and pepper. Don’t you dare add parsley!
Softness of that golden cream and crunch of the Guanciale, those smells…This plate always reminds me the best sides of the Italian cuisine. Simple but quality ingredients are handled with great care. Creating amazing looks and tastes!