Spaghetti alla Carbonara is a go-to meal for the Italian – a hearty dish that is quick and easy to make. Originally from Rome, the dish is based on eggs, Parmesan cheese, bacon and black pepper. Some recipes also use cream, but the Italian says the original version (and the only kind he’ll make) is made without. An interesting tidbit from Wikipedia: after the Second World War it was very popular in Rome when many Italians were eating eggs and bacon supplied by troops from the United States.
The below recipe has been dictated by the Italian, who often cooks by eye, so quantities will be approximate.
Spaghetti alla Carbonara
Spaghetti (or linguine) – around 150g per person
Pancetta in cubes (or bacon) – around 100g person
Eggs – one per person
Buy pancetta in cubes. If not available, cut regular bacon into small, square strips.
Cook pancetta in frying pan with one teaspoon of oil. Option to add thinly sliced onions.
Bring water to a boil in tall pot. Add spaghetti. When water starts to boil again add a tablespoon of salt. Cook spaghetti until al dente. (Al dente is usually one or two minutes prior to the cooking time indicated on the package.)
Drain pasta. Take about half of the pasta and put in frying pan with pancetta. Cook on medium for roughly 10 seconds. This manner of cooking is what Italians refer to as “far saltare la pasta”, or making pasta “jump”. This is to make the pasta infused with the oil and bacon flavorings.
Put contents of frying pan into the tall pot with the rest of the spaghetti and stir.
When pasta is well covered with the pancetta sauce, add a total of one egg per person, one egg at a time, to the pot. As soon as the egg hits the pasta you must stir the pot rapidly and vigorously so that the egg white does not cook.
Finish the dish with black pepper to taste.
Serve with Parmesan cheese.