Enjoy this dish with either white or red wine — try a Vermentino from Tuscany, a Pinot Grigio from the Alto Adige, a Nebbiolo from Langhe, or (my favorite) a Vernaccia Nerra from Marche.
Carbonara, like a true Alfredo sauce, contains no cream. The pasta’s silky coating is the result of just-cooked eggs, rendered fat and dissolved cheeses - achieving the effect takes focus and a little practice. Too much heat and the eggs scramble, too much egg white and the sauce remains soupy. The dish should be spiked with plenty of freshly cracked black pepper and is traditionally made with guanciale or pancetta – both of which are cured, but my family prefers the smoky flavor of their beloved American bacon.
Author: Anne Rudden Press
- 1 lb. dry pasta – Spaghetti, Rigatoni, or Linguine
- 8 oz. guanciale, pancetta or bacon
- 2 eggs – better at room temperature
- 2 egg yolks – better at room temperature
- 8 oz (about ½ cup) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 8 oz. (about ½ cup) freshly grated Pecorino cheese
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Cut the guanciale, pancetta or bacon into lardons (¼ inch strips). In a frying pan large enough to hold the cooked pasta, gently render the guanciale melting the fat and browning slightly without over-drying the meat. Remove from heat.
- Beat together the eggs, egg yolks, cheese and pepper. Set aside.
- Boil the pasta in well-salted water until al dente and still quite firm – about half the recommended cooking time. See Note.
- Just before the pasta finishes, return the frying pan to a low heat.
- Using a pasta fork or lift, add the pasta to the guanciale, increase the heat slightly and stir on moderate heat for a minute or so allowing the pasta to absorb its own liquid and the rendered fat.
- Remove from heat and using tongs or a wooden spoon stir the pasta rapidly while adding the egg mixture in a steady stream.
- Portion, pour wine, enjoy.
- NOTE: Reserve some of the pasta water for moistening in case the dish seems dry or if the pasta sticks in Step 5.