Here I am on a new podcast, talking to you about classic Roman dishes, spaghetti carbonara in particular. I love this dish, and after a recent trip to Rome I’ve made changes in my carbonara cooking technique to come up with what I feel is a real Roman trattoria result. I hope you enjoy my talk. And below it is my new and improved recipe. Give it a try and tell me how it comes out. Spaghetti carbonara is a dish of pure beauty. I think I might even make it for Thanksgiving.
See if you can find guanciale, cured pork jowl, for it. It’ll give you that true Roman flavor.
Spaghetti Carbonara My Way
(Serves 4 as a first course)
2 large eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
½ cup grated pecorino Sardo or Romano cheese
½ cup grated grana Padano cheese
¾ pounds spaghetti or bucatini
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 ½-inch-thick slices of guanciale (or pancetta), cut into thin strips (about ¾ cup)
¼ cup dry white wine
Coarsely ground black pepper
Set up a large pot of pasta cooking water, and bring it to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt.
Mix the two cheeses together in a small bowl. Place the eggs and 2 heaping tablespoons of the cheese mixture in another small bowl, and stir well.
Drop the spaghetti or bucatini into the pot, and give it a quick stir to make sure it doesn’t stick.
In a large skillet, big enough to hold all the pasta, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium flame. Add the guanciale or pancetta, and cook it slowly until it’s very crisp and has given off much of its fat, about 5 minutes. Add the white wine, and let it bubble for about 30 seconds; you don’t want to boil it away completely, but just enough to loosen all the caramelized skillet bits, so you can incorporate them into your sauce. Turn off the heat, but keep the skillet on the turned off burner.
When the spaghetti is just about ready, pour the egg and cheese mixture into the skillet, adding a touch of salt and an ample amount of freshly grated black pepper.
When the spaghetti is al dente, drain it, saving about ½ cup of the cooking water, and add the pasta to the skillet. Toss very well. The waning heat from the skillet and the heat from the pasta will lightly cook the eggs, creating a thick sauce that will coat every strand of pasta. This should take at least a minute of tossing, maybe a bit longer. If it seems too thick, add a teaspoon of pasta cooking water, and toss until everything is well coated, thick, and glossy, with only a touch of liquid left pooling on the bottom of the skillet. Serve right away, offering extra cheese at the table.