After many trials and attempts, I have found and developed this recipe for an authentic flavoured and styled Spaghetti Carbonara. When making this dish, some create a thick gloopy sauce with cream and onions, but this, I feel, is incorrect and it doesn’t quite capture the true flavour and texture of the carbonara that one would experience in Italy. Another popular addition is the use of peas, but this too is a ‘no-go’ if you want to obtain the real deal.
I use dried pasta as it creates the right texture once cooked to allow the sauce to stick to it. It also aids in making the cooking water starchier to allow for a nice sauce without needing to add cream. I would probably be in trouble with seasoned Carbonara-makers for adding parsley to it, but I really like the flavour that it brings and I feel that it is worthy of being added in at the end. At the end of the day, each to his own, and you must feel free to expand on the recipe and add whatever it is you want to create your own unique dish. But for now, this is the recipe (or as close as I can get to it) for the original carbonara dish I experienced at a small restaurant in Rome, just outside of the Pantheon in 2007 – a gastronomic experience which will forever be in my memory as one of the best spaghetti carbonara’s I’ve ever had.
4 Large fresh eggs
300g Midlands Speciality Products Pancetta
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup freshly grated Pecorino
Freshly cracked black pepper
Sea salt and extra flaked salt for finishing
Bring about 6 litres of water with plenty of salt to the boil and throw in the spaghetti for about 8 minutes until al dente. When the spaghetti is cooked, reserve about one cup of the water and then drain it out.
While the pasta is cooking, heat a large frying pan over medium heat and ass the pancetta. Sauté for about 4 minutes until most of the fat has rendered off and it begins to crisp and get golden. Remove from the heat.
In a bowl, whisk together the egg and cheese until combined.
Turn the pancetta pan back onto medium heat and add the reserved pasta water to the pan. Mix in the spaghetti and toss until the bubbling subsides and most of the water has evaporated.
Remove from the heat and add the egg mixture stirring briskly until the eggs thicken. The heat left in the pan and pasta will cook the eggs but will hopefully not allow them to scramble. A sauce will form and if it’s too thick, add a bit more of the reserved pasta water.
Season well with freshly cracked black pepper and salt if necessary.
Top with shaved parmesan cheese and finely chopped parsely.
Remember that this pasta won’t be swimming in a thick sauce and should therefore hold its shape when plated and have just enough sauce to cover the spaghetti strands.
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