Pasta alla Carbonara is a delectable and quite simple pasta dish that is a cornerstone of the Roman cuisine. There’s not a restaurant in Rome that doesn’t serve it.
Follow these simple tips and it’ll be perfect every time!
One of the key ingredients in Pasta alla Carbonara is guanciale (pork jowl) which adds amazing texture and flavor wherever it’s used. It should be cut into tiny cubes or narrow, one inch long strips before it’s cooked. Place the guanciale in a sauce pan and cook it on the lowest flame possible, and very, very slowly. You want the guanciale to be crunchy on the outside but melted on the inside. There’s very little meat on pork jowl so the fat in these cubes or small strips needs to be almost liquefied on the inside. Otherwise you’ll have the sensation that you are chewing on a piece of raw fat which is unpleasant.
Another point pertains to the eggs you use. Fresh organic eggs are undoubtedly preferable when possible. Add the egg mixture to the pasta just until coated; never cook the eggs. The eggs should be warmed through but still completely creamy. The more egg yolks the better; I generally use one whole egg to two or three egg yolks.
Freshly grated black pepper is preferable to store bought, already grated, black pepper.
You can use either freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese or freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano; my preference is Pecorino Romano because it has a richer, somewhat saltier flavor.
If you keep these few pointers and tips in mind you can prepare a perfect Pasta alla Carbonara in just about the same amount of time it takes to cook the pasta.
Pasta alla Carbonara
Serves 4 – 6
Prep time: 30 minutes – Easy
Penne, 400 grams
Guanciale (pork jowl), 200 grams
Eggs, 1 large, preferably free range & organic
Egg yolks, 3 large, preferably free range & organic
Grated Pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmesan), 100 grams (or more to taste)
Freshly grated black pepper, about 1/2 tablespoon
Finely cube the guanciale.
In a saucepan large enough to hold the pasta, cook the guanciale over a very low flame until crisp and crunchy.
Whisk the eggs, cheese and black pepper together with a fork until it’s creamy.
Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water according to package instructions, until al dente.
Drain the pasta, but reserve a cup of the cooking water.
Reheat the guanciale, and quickly toss in the pasta until fully coated.
Mix in in the egg mixture until creamy.
If the pasta is too dry add some pasta cooking water, by the tablespoonful.
Sprinkle lightly with more grated cheese.
Place the Pasta alla Carbonara in a serving dish and serve.
Please note that the below printable recipe can be viewed and printed in either metric or U.S. conventional measurements; just click on your preference within the recipe.
- 400 grams Penne
- 200 grams Guanciale
- 1 Eggs preferably free range & organic
- 3 Egg yolks preferably free range & organic
- 100 grams Grated Pecorino Romano cheese or Parmeggiano Reggiano
- 1/2 tablespoon Freshly grated black pepper
- Finely cube the guanciale.
- In a saucepan large enough to hold the pasta, cook the guanciale over a very low flame until crisp and crunchy.
- Whisk the eggs, cheese and black pepper together with a fork until it's creamy.
- Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water according to package instructions, until al dente.
- Drain the pasta, but reserve a cup of the cooking water.
- Reheat the guanciale, and quickly toss in the pasta until fully coated.
- Mix in in the egg mixture until creamy.
- If the pasta is too dry add some pasta cooking water, by the tablespoonful.
- Sprinkle lightly with more grated cheese.
- Place in a serving dish and serve.