Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.– Sophia Loren
La carbonara is one of the most discussed dishes here in Italy. The never-ending search for the true origin of traditional italian recipes, so typical of the italian culture, seems to manifest all its strength when it comes to the topic of this iconic dish. In fact, this can be so complex that a lot of italians will stop returning to a restaurant solely if they believe their carbonara is not respecting the unbreakable rules behind its preparation (like using cream in the egg sauce…eew).
It is said that the carbonara was invented right after the World War II when the Americans came to Italy, bringing with them recipes like the classic egg and bacon breakfast. Not long after that, an Italian came with the delicious idea of combining the best of both worlds. In other words…pasta+egg+bacon = heaven. Whether this story is true or not, we will never know! But you can’t deny this dish is a MUST for your next italian dinner.
Personally, I’ve never met an Italian who doesn’t know how to make carbonara; everybody knows how to do it and they all claim to do it the right way or alla romana. But the truth is they all make a different and mildly personalised carbonara and this is my version!
INGREDIENTS FOR LA CARBONARA ALLA FRANCESCO (2 SERVINGS)
- 240g Spaghetti (the thicker the better in my opinion)
- 100g Guanciale (pork cheek)
- 3 eggs
- 70g Parmiggiano Reggiano
- 20g Pecorino Romano
- Black pepper
- Take a large saucepan and fill it with water. Add salt and bring it to a boil over a medium/high heat. You can now add the pasta. For the cooking time consider always about 2 minutes less than the cooking time written on the box.
- Cut the guanciale in small stripes or cubes and put them to cook on a wok (or a large frying pan) over medium heat. Cook them until they will brown a bit, making them crunchy.
- Meanwhile the pasta is cooking, start preparing the egg sauce. Put two eggs and one extra egg yolk on a bowl (consider always one egg for person plus one egg yolk each two persons) and add 60g of Parmiggiano Reggiano and 20g of Pecorino Romano (the remaining Parmiggiano will be used at the end to thicken the sauce when combined with the pasta). Add black pepper and mix the ingredients with a fork.
- When the pasta is done put it on the pan where you cooked the guanciale . Make sure to save some water from the saucepan where the pasta was cooked (we will need it to cook the egg sauce and make the pasta creamier).
- Over a low heat start mixing the pasta and the meat. Slowly add the egg sauce that you prepared before while you are mixing the pasta. Keep mixing without stopping and add the water of the pasta to make the sauce creamy and to not overcook the egg inside the sauce. Attenzione! If you add too much water you will have to balance it with some extra Parmiggiano or let it cook over medium heat for some seconds keep mixing it. The entire procedure of mixing should last about 2 or 3 minutes.
Your pasta is ready! Enjoy with some black pepper and all the Parmiggiano your soul is craving 😉