Sometimes it takes just a few simple ingredients, the right technique, and magic happens in the kitchen. This recipe speaks to that in so many ways with its very simple ingredient list of eggs, guanciale, pecorino, and black pepper. That’s all you need to make this classic Roman pasta dish: Spaghetti alla Carbonara!
Here’s how you can create this amazingly simple and delicious dish at home:
SERVES 4 – 6
500g Spaghetti (Rummo)
4 egg yolks
8oz Guanciale – cubed
1 cup Pecorino Romano – grated
Freshly cracked black pepper
Bring a large pot of 4-6L of water to a boil, salt generously and cook the pasta until al dente. When the pasta is done, reserve ½ cup of the cooking water, drain the pasta.
While the pasta is cooking, heat a large pan over medium heat. Add the guanciale and sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until the meat is crispy and golden brown, and has rendered its fat. Remove from the heat.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cheese, and some cracked black pepper until well-combined. Set aside.
Return the guanciale pan to medium heat and add the pasta after you have drained it well. Toss together for a few seconds and remove from the heat. Add the egg/cheese mixture along with some of the reserved pasta water and toss to combined. Add a bit of the pasta water a time, only as needed so the egg mixture begins to soften enough to coat the pasta. Continue to toss until the spaghetti is coated well, adding the pasta water as needed.
Finish with more Romano cheese if desired and cracked black pepper.
Divide the pasta in bowls and serve immediately. Buon Appetito!
A FEW EXTRA NOTES
Guanciale — Not to be confused with pancetta or bacon, this Italian cured pork is made from the cheeks of the pig. This delectable, robustly flavored meat is seasoned on the surface then dried + aged to perfection for at least 3 months. The fat of guanciale lends marvoulous flavor to the dish that cannot be replicated with its cousin of the cured meats pancetta or bacon.
Substitutions can be made of course with pancetta or bacon, but the flavor will be significantly different. Some are ok with this result in desperate times but if you can get your hands on the unique cured meat known as guanciale, this is the recipe to make (ok ok, perhaps we’re exaggerating slightly, but you get the hint how much we love guanciale!)
Pecorino Romano — a sheep’s milk cheese with a sharp and salty flavor. The word “Pecorino” is a term used to define Italian cheeses made of sheep’s milk. You’ll find MANY varieties of “pecorino” in the market, but for this recipe you’ll want to find Pecorino Romano, which refers to a specific sheep’s milk cheese produced in the countryside of Rome.