Spiaghetti alla Carbonara
It had been a long day working around the house with our cooking buddies. Unfortunately while the mind is willing the body is aging and certainly not as agile as just a few years ago. After a few glasses of Pinot Grigio, some salami and cheese, the question of dinner came to mind. We were tired, no one really wanted to cook but after a day in the sun we needed something flavorful and filling. Timidly, I suggested a stalwart of every Italian family’s dinner repertoire.
“Would you be interested in a rustic Italian dish?”
The Carbonara is one of the most well known dishes in Italy. From Cuneo to Pantelleria just about everyone will make some version of a Carbonara. As with most antique dishes there are several stories passed down over the generations about the origins. The first talks about the Carbonari, a group of French monks. The Carbonari were considered a heretic secret society much like the Masons and were hunted and killed by the Catholic Church. Another gives the paternity to Ippolito Cavalcanti, a chef from Naples. Ippolito Cavalcanti published his version in his cookbook. The most reliable seems tells of the society of coal producers and salesmen in Naples who would break the big pieces of coal into smaller pieces which were then sold on the streets of Naples to local families. The dish is popular because it is quick, nutritious, savory and made with ingredients readily available around the year.
This is not the original Italian recipe. We have changed the recipe for the US due to the extensive health problems, Salmonella and other bacterial viruses found in mega structures, of US industrial egg production facilities. In Italy the dish would not have heavy cream and the raw egg mixture would be added directly to the drained pasta. Some recipes will also use Pecorino instead of Parmesan cheese. I have also seen a few family recipes add flaked peperoncino when the dish is served.
2 tbsp (30 grams) butter
200 grams ham hocks (guanciale) use regular bacon if ham hocks are not available
Fresh Ground pepper
2 oz. (60 g) Grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano Cheese
250 ml Heavy Cream
4 tbsp (50 g) butter
1 lbs (450 g) Spaghetti
Cut the bacon into small pieces, about ½ inch wide.
Select a large heavy skillet. Over medium heat melt the 2 tbsp of butter with about 10 turns of cracked pepper. Once the butter is melted and beginning to clarify, add the bacon. Cook for about 5 minutes. Do not burn.
Remove the cooked bacon and pour the butter grease fat. Turn off the heat and set the skillet aside. Do not clean the skillet.
Boil the spaghetti or other pasta in abundant salted water. While the pasta is cooking, mix together, in a medium sized bowl, the eggs, Parmesan cheese, cream and a couple of turns of pepper. Whisk together until the mixture is smooth.
Three minutes before the pasta is ready, melt the remaining butter over low heat with about 10 turns of ground pepper. Add the egg mixture to the skillet, stirring constantly. The objective is to raise the temperature of the eggs without scrambling them. When the pasta is ready, drain completely. Pour the pasta directly into the skillet. Add the bacon. Stir everything together quickly and serve.
Serve immediately in individual pasta dishes. Grind fresh black pepper on every plate. Add additional grated Parmesan cheese as desired.
Tags: Italian Recipes Lazio Eggs Pasta Gourmet Foods Travel Italy