Friday, January 8, 2016

Pasta Carbonara

This recipe was a necessity for me to learn, since my husband ate Carbonara every day during our honeymoon in Italy. I copied down the recipe used by La Carbonara in Rome, from a travel show I was watching one day. I have altered it to my own taste. The traditional Carbonara is made with spaghetti, but I have never liked the texture of spaghetti and am not enough of a slave to tradition to make this recipe with it. I have also added more cheese and eggs for a creamier taste without resorting to using cream. Fettucine is pictured here: 

1 lb linguine or fettucine
5 eggs, 2 whole and 3 extra yolks
1/3 lb pancetta cut into a small dice
Freshly ground black pepper corns
3/4C Romano Cheese
3/4C Parmigiano

While you are boiling the water for the linguine, slice, dice and saute the pancetta until it's lightly browned on the edges. If pancetta is unavailable, you can substitute a lean non smoked bacon, but do attempt to find panchetta, as it is a better tasting product. Better yet, use guanciale, the traditional Italian ingredient. Then lightly drain off the fat and set aside. The point to sauteing the pancetta is to render the fat, not to make it very crisp.

Place the shelled eggs and extra yolks into a small bowl and beat until well blended. Grind the fresh black peppercorns into a medium courseness, then add and beat into the eggs. Set the bowl aside, with the grated cheese and mix them together just before adding to the drained pasta.

As soon as the linguine is al dente, drain the pasta and take a cup of the pasta water and set aside. Turn off the heat, and place the pancetta into the bottom of the empty pasta pot, and proceed to add back the pasta, then stir them together. Now add the cheese into the bowl with the egg and mix to combine them. The pot will be hot from the boiling water and that residual heat is what will cook and thicken this egg sauce. Pour the egg and cheese mixture over the pasta and stir quickly to create the thickened sauce.

Use a little of the reserved pasta water, if necessary to help the cheese to melt and the egg to become creamy. Use 1T at a time, only if the pasta looks dry and is difficult to stir. Adding too much will ruin the recipe; adding too little can easily be adjusted. This particular making of the recipe did not require any of the pasta water at all. The last photo clearly shows that the cheese had melted and the sauce was already creamy.
If you have failed to turn off the heat, you will have scrambled egg pasta, not Carbonara.

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