Pasta alla carbonara is one of the most famous Italian recipes. People make it, all over the world, feeling free to vary it as they please. But while it is very tempting to add things to the basic carbonara, and far be it from us to step on your creativity, don't call it carbonara if you add mushrooms or peas or anything else. Make no mistake about it, Italians love this recipe and, if you talk to them, they will tell you that to make the real carbonara there is only one recipe with specific ingredients. To make the perfect carbonara, use the best, freshest eggs you can find, and don't even think of making this dish with eggs from stressed-out battery chickens. You can taste the difference. You need the real guanciale, and a good seasoned pecorino cheese. Once the eggs have been added to the pasta, do not let the pan touch the heat directly or you will wind up with scrambled eggs.
For the condimento:
120 grams guanciale, cut into 1/2-centimeter dice
2 generous tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, preferably lightly fruity
3 large eggs, at room temperature
10 rounded tablespoons (100 grams) freshly grated pecorino romano, or half pecorino romano and half parmigiano reggiano
freshly ground black pepper
To make the dish:
1 pound (450 grams) pasta (see note below)
Put the guanciale and oil in a large skillet. Sauté over medium heat until the edges of the guanciale pieces are just turning brown, about 2 minutes. Don't let it get too crisp. Set the pan and its contents aside but keep warm.
Bring 5 liters of water to a boil in 8-liter pot over high heat. When the water boils, add 3 tablespoons of salt, then add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, break the eggs into a small bowl and add all the cheese and a generous grinding of pepper. Whisk gently until the mixture is smooth.
Drain the pasta (reserving and keeping warm a cup of its water) and put it in the skillet with the guanciale over low heat. Toss quickly to mix well.
Holding the skillet slightly above but not touching the burner, pour the egg and cheese mixture in a stream into the pasta. Now, if you have the skill, toss the pasta with a deft movement of the wrist to blend all the contents of the pan. If you don't, remove the pan from the heat and mix quickly with two wooden spoons.
Whatever you do, work fast or the pasta will get cold and the eggs will stay raw and runny. Ideally the heat of the pasta will cook the egg just enough, and the sauce should be creamy. You can mix in a tiny bit of the reserved water to smooth things out, but you probably won't need to.
Transfer to individual heated bowls or plates and serve instantaneously.
Borgovivo's suggestions for a perfect "Pasta alla Carbonara"
Seasoned jawls pork meat.
"Vecchio Stampo" Pecorino cheese
The canonical pasta for carbonara is spaghetti, but bucatini are close behind. Penne and rigatoni are short formats often found alla carbonara and easier to handle in quantity
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