This is a guest post written by Melissa from Recipe Barn. If you like Italian food like me and you would like to learn how to make a proper Spaghetti alla Carbonara, this is the post for you. If you would like to know more about Melissa and her blog, please scroll down to the bottom of this post where you can find her details, under “About the Author“.
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If you’re tired of the same spaghetti with tomato sauce every week, try this quick and easy spaghetti alla carbonara recipe to mix things up a bit! Carbonara is, by definition, simply Italian pasta with eggs, hard cheese, guanciale or pancetta, and pepper. This short ingredient list and a brief cooking time make spaghetti alla carbonara perfect for a weeknight supper.
Although spaghetti is the featured pasta in this recipe, bucatini, fettuccini, linguini, penne, and rigatoni are also common pasta types in carbonara recipes. If you cannot find guanciale, or cured pig’s cheek, pancetta (Italian bacon) can also be used for spaghetti ala carbonara. Prosciutto—or even bacon—is a less authentic but potentially easier-to-find substitute.
Surprisingly, there is no cream in this deceptively creamy pasta dish. Many modern recipes for carbonara include heavy cream as well as garlic and onions, but traditional carbonara gets its creaminess from eggs and cheese. In fact, carbonara is a rustic though flavorful dish created by and for common people.
The exact origin of pasta carbonara is difficult to pinpoint, though there are several theories on how and where the dish was first created and named. Alla carbonara means “coal workers style,” suggesting that the dish was popular among coal workers. Another theory is that the word carbonara comes from a secret society called the Carbonari that pushed for Italian reform in the early 1800s. A famous restaurant in Rome, La Carbonara, claims that they created the dish.
Regardless of its origins, spaghetti alla carbonara has become a widely known and well-loved Italian pasta dish. If you’ve never tried it, now is the time to add this simple, satisfying meal to your recipe collection.
Spaghetti alla Carbonara
● 400–500g spaghetti
● 5 medium eggs
● 250g grated pecorino Romano cheese
● 250g guanciale
● Extra-virgin olive oil
● Salt and black pepper, to taste
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the spaghetti until al dente.
2. While the spaghetti cooks, whisk the eggs, cheese, and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and sauté the guanciale until it just begins to brown. Do not overcook, or it will harden.
4. Once the spaghetti is done, drain it, reserving one cup of the cooking liquid. Pour the pasta into the skillet over very low heat. If no water is transferred to the pan with the pasta, add a bit of the reserved cooking liquid as needed to make the sauce creamy.
5. Mix well, add the egg mixture, and toss until the eggs just begin to thicken into a creamy sauce that clings to the pasta. If you prefer, you can also continue cooking until the eggs fully set.
6. Remove from the heat when it is a little less done that you want—the eggs will continue to cook from the heat of the pasta.
7. Serve hot with extra cheese grated on top.
Do you like Italian food? Have you cooked Italian before? What do you think of this recipe? Have you tried Spaghetti alla Carbonara? You can find Melissa at Recipe Barn.
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