Monday, May 7, 2012

Spaghetti Carbonara


This was a Sunday favorite at Santa Chiara (where I studied abroad) and soon became a favorite in mine and Ryan’s kitchen. It is a simple dish with just pancetta, eggs, fresh cheese, and a ton of cracked black pepper. Don’t get crazy with adding peas and cream, it is just perfect the way it is.

This recipe is from Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, my go-to Italian cookbook. The recipes bring me back to my time abroad when I ate pasta everyday!

I love how she keeps the carbonara simple and adds a touch of white wine for a depth of flavor.

I also love to eat the leftovers for breakfast. I mean, it is bacon and eggs, right?



½ pound pancetta, cut as a single ½-inch-thick slab (or really good bacon)
4 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup dry white wine
2 large eggs*
¼ cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
½ cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound spaghetti

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Once it is at a roaring boil, add a few tablespoons of salt and drop in the pasta. Stir occasionally, and drain after about 8 minutes, or when al dente. Be sure to reserve some of the pasta water before draining.

Meanwhile, cut the pancetta into strips not quite ¼ inch wide.  (You can also use the pancetta that is already diced from Trader Joe’s.) Lightly mash the garlic with a chef’s knife, enough to split it and loosen the skin, which you will discard. Put the garlic and olive oil into a small saute pan and turn on heat to medium high. Saute until the garlic becomes colored a deep gold, and remove and discard it (or save it for mashed potatoes). Add the pancetta to the pan, and cook until it just begins to crisp up at the edges. Add the wine, let it bubble away for 1 or 2 minutes, then remove from heat.

Break the eggs into the serving bowl in which you’ll be subsequently tossing the pasta. Beat them lightly with a fork, then add the grated cheeses and a liberal grinding of pepper. Mix throughly. 

Add the drained pasta to the bowl, and toss rapidly with tongs, coating the strands well. Pour the contents of the pancetta pan into the bowl and toss throughly again. Top with more grated parmesan cheese and serve at once.

*The eggs will cook from the heat of the pasta. However, if you are concerned with salmonella poisoning, don't serve to elderly people, very young children, or someone who is immune deficient. I eat this all of the time and have never had a problem. 

1 comment:

  1. Make me miss Santa Chiara so much! Looks pretty tasty...I will have to give this version a go! :)