"Carbonara" is roughly translated to "in the manner of coal miners" and it may have earned its name because of the flecks of black pepper on it that resemble coal. Nonetheless, the more likely origin is from a Roman restaurant called Carbonara. For the longest time, I have been intimidated by making or even eating carbonara because I was under the impression the main ingredient, the egg would be raw. In actuality, the egg is neither raw nor scrambled but rather cooked by the residual heat where it is formed into a luxurious cream that is a glossy and silky dream on pasta. The remaining humble ingredients speak to the simplicity of this recipe; making it a perfect meal when you are pinched for ingredients and time. Yet the payoff is so delicious it will become one of your staple dishes.
12 ounces spaghetti (or bucatini or fettucini)
3-4 egg yolks, room temperature
1-2 garlic cloves, optional
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan and some for garnish
1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino romano
freshly chopped parsley, for garnish
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound pancetta or bacon 🥓, cubed or sliced
Heat a large pot of boiling water and cook the pasta for two minutes less than the package instructs. Reserve about a cup of the pasta water.
Begin cooking bacon in a large saute pan until crispy. Reserve some bacon for garnish then add the garlic (if using) for one minute.
In a bowl mix together egg yolks, cheese, and black pepper until it forms into a thick paste-like consistency.
Add the pasta to your pan with some pasta water. Next, slowly combine the egg mixture while vigorously tossing the pasta (this part is crucial to create the cream). Add more pasta water a little at a time as you go.
Finish with some more black pepper and garnish with roughly chopped parsley. Enjoy!
If you do not have pecorino romano cheese 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese will work fine too