Recipe of the Week #2: Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Roman First Course Spaghetti alla Carbonara

This egg and bacon pasta dish of Roman origins was also one of Sofia Loren’s favorites and her version of the recipe can be found in her cookbook, Sofia Loren’s Recipes and Memories.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara is a popular Roman first course that is believed to have been invented by the Carbonaio, or coalmakers, working in the Apennine Mountains close to the city.  This theory is reinforced by the history of the Ristorante La Carbonara, now located in Campo de’ Fiori. The original restaurant, Il Carbonaro, was established in 1912 by a coal salesman and his wife, Federico and Domenica Salomone. Domenica passed her Roman cooking secrets onto her daughter, Andreina and so it is no coincidence that still today carbonara is the establishment’s signature dish.

Ingredients for four people:
400 grams of spaghetti
100 grams of pecorino romano or parmesan cheese
150 grams of pancetta (diced bacon from the supermarket fridge)
50 grams of butter
4 egg yolks
salt and black pepper

Utensils:
A mixing bowl
Wooden spoon
Fork
Cheese grater
Frying pan
Saucepan

The Recipe
Cook the bacon cubes in a frying pan on medium heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon until the bacon is starting to get crunchy. Remove the bacon from the flame and then take it out of the frying pan leaving behind the excess fat that has melted durng cooking. (I like to put the bacon on some paper towels to further drain the fat)

Put the egg yolks in the mixing bowl and beat them with a fork until they are well mixed. Add half a teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of cracked pepper, the pecorino or parmensan cheese (finely grated) and the butter and mix again.

Cook the spaghetti, drain and add to the egg mix immediately while it is still moist from cooking. Add the bacon pieces and mix so that the eggs and butter cover the spaghetti. The heat from the just cooked pasta will melt the butter and lightly cook the eggs.

If the mixture is too dry, NEVER add cream; however, you can add a little (spoonful) of the water that is still warm from cooking the pasta. Once the spaghetti and eggs are mixed, you should never further cook the mixture as the eggs will go hard like a spaghetti and bacon frittata.

Serve straight away. You can add extra salt, pepper and parmesan to suit your personal taste.

Once you have made the recipe come back and comment to let us know how it turned out – Buon Appetito!

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