Thursday, May 21, 2009

Carbonara, the original italian recipe of spaghetti with eggs and cheese

Ingredients for one person:
  • Spaghetti [70 grams or more, the quantity is up to you, but then you need more egg]
  • Guanciale or Pancetta chopped in squares [35 grams or more, the quantity is again up to you]
  • 1 whole pasteurized egg 
  • 2 spoons of grated Pecorino cheese and 2 of Parmigiano 
  • 1 small cube of butter
  • 1 spoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
This is really very easy to make but don't take for granted the result, because you need very fresh eggs and the art of tossing the pasta while keeping the sauce silky.
  1. In a non-stick pan fry the pancetta [where do we find the real thing? i mean guanciale?] with olive oil and butter till browned and crispy. Keep the pan warm.
  2. In a large bowl beat the egg with finely grated pecorino cheese, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Drain the spaghetti al dente and stir them in the pan with the crispy pancetta, then add the beaten egg stirring to coat well the pasta. 
  4. Top with some more ground pepper, pecorino and parmigiano.
This is my way, but i know people who first coat spaghetti with the eggs and next they garnish with Pancetta. You can try both ways and see what you like best.

According to me the first coat with the fat of Pancetta allows the sauce to slide along the spaghetti so that lumps of coagulated egg are avoided.
However this is a finesse that i can't even follow anymore and i really miss that smooth texture. Because i cannot risk to eat uncooked eggs in India, so, i am bound to cook the eggs. That is the reason i almost never make this recipe here. Now just because of this blog, thinking what to cook, i started craving Carbonara for few days until i had to make it. Not that i easily find pancetta here, just happened that i had some.

If you also don't want to eat raw eggs, and you have no way to get them already pasteurized, place the whole egg with a couple of spoons of water and few drops of lemon juice, some finely grated Pecorino or Parmigiano, in a pan with butter, and with an egg whisker make it foaming while keeping the pan on top of the pot where water is boiling.
I know this is not the real thing, in fact the silky texture, so important for this dish, is completely missing. It is not so easy to avoid the smooth scrambled eggs, because a kitchen thermometer is needed to keep the right temperature at 150F/65,5C, and so, though i tried my best to make it less scrambled and more smooth i failed, for sure i need to buy a thermometer. Well, it was not so bad after all.

Now, may i have your attention, please? 

There is no basil and no parsley in this recipe and not either garlic, no mushrooms, no onions or bell pepper, and absolutely no chicken. Why am i telling you this? Because i know people love to create their own versions of recipes, and i like that, i also do the same very often, but then, in this case, i am not going to call it "carbonara" and hopefully neither will you.
However you can garnish it with marmalade if you like, or whatever you want, and i am not going to prevent you, i swear.

1 comment:

  1. wow, che foto! ok, proverò con la marmellata ;D



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