Whenever I feel very hungry and have no time for cooking, carbonara comes in handy. It takes 10-15min to prepare and you have a scrumptious filling meal.
The origin of this dish is obscure, we know it’s a typical meal from Rome and that there is no mention before the Second World War. However the theories of its origins are many, some say it is was the main meal of the charcoal workers, carbonari in Italian, others say that it was a tribute to a secret Italian society called i Carbonari. The theory I prefer the most, is linked to the American liberation of Rome in 1944, the young soldiers added their daily ration of eggs to an already existing Roman dish which included pancetta and pepper.
Mamma Flora’s Tip: Carbonara is an easy recipe however the success of this dish lies on the technique of mixing the pasta and the eggs together. We don’t want any scrambled eggs, we want creamy and glossy spaghetti as result. That’s why keeping some cooking water is essential.
If you can, use guanciale (cured pork cheek) instead of pancetta as it contains more fat, otherwise choose a fattier pancetta. The original recipe includes pecorino romano (an Italian salty Hard cheese) instead of parmesan, you might find it in some Italian delis, otherwise parmesan will do.
- 100gr spaghetti
- 50gr pancetta (to cut in big cubes)
- 50gr parmesan
- 1 yolk
- Salt and pepper
- 1 pot to cook the pasta
- 1 pan
- 1 medium size bowl
- Place a pan on medium high heat and when warm add the pancetta cut in big cubes
- Fry until crispy, we don't need oil as pancetta has lots of fat which will melt in the pan
- In the meantime boil some water in a pot big enough. Once it’s boiling add some salt and the pasta. Try the pasta 2 min before the cooking time stated on the package to make sure it is al dente (the core should still be hard). Retain some cooking water in a cup, we will use it later
- While the pasta is cooking, place the yolk of the egg with the grated parmesan and grated pepper (as much as you like) in a medium size bowl and mix it with a fork. Add a spoon of the cooking water and mix again
- Drain the pasta once ready and place in the bowl with the yolk, mix everything quickly as it needs to cool down. We don’t want scrambled eggs so if you see it’s still too hot, add another spoon of cooking water and continue to mix
- Add the pancetta and the fat and mix again. The result should be a lovely glossy spaghetti
- Serve with more freshly grated pepper and parmesan