Cooking with Alison

Carbonara

In Pasta, Rice, and Doughs on July 13, 2010 at pm

Carbonara is a very interesting pasta dish that incorporates separated raw eggs.  When I had pancetta left over from making vinaigrette (recipe here), I decided to make carbonara for the first time.   The sauce is creamy but not runny or overly thick.  This is a simple dish and the flavour is subtle, and I love it.  Despite many of the “carbonara” recipes out there, note that authentic carbonara does Not use cream.

Carbonara Recipe

makes 4 servings; adapted from Mario Batali

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

10 ounces guanciale, pancetta, or bacon, cut into small cubes

3 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 pound angel hair pasta (or any pasta that you prefer, ie. spaghetti)

1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (I use a coarse Microplane grater)

4 large eggs, separated at room temperature

freshly ground black pepper

fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Salt it generously and cook the pasta until al dente as per the instructions on the package.  Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and pancetta in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Cook until the pancetta is crispy and golden.  Remove the pan from heat.  Dish out the pancetta and set aside.  Add the garlic to the remaining bacon fat and set aside.  The remaining heat will be enough to cook the garlic.

Once the pasta is cooked, retain 1/4 cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta.  Place the pasta into the pan with the bacon fat and garlic.  Turn the heat to medium-high and add the 1/4 cup of pasta water.  Toss over heat for about 30 seconds.  Mix in the Parmigiano.  Then remove the pan from the heat and add the egg whites.  Using tongs and moving very quickly, mix and stir the pasta very well until thoroughly combined.  If you do not mix the pasta quickly enough, the eggs will set and scramble from the heat.  Then add the egg yolks and once again, mix and stir the pasta very quickly until thoroughly combined.  Add black pepper to taste and the cooked pancetta, toss to combine, and plate the pasta.  If you’d like, you could top with some freshly ground black pepper, some additional grated parmesan cheese, and parsley for garnish.  Serve immediately.

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  1. I would definity give it a try! What your favourite brand for angel hairs?

    • Great! Let me know how it works for you 🙂 I’m sorry but I can’t remember the name of my favourite brand (I can only recognize the packaging)… It’s made in Italy with durum wheat semolina. The packaging has red in it… I doubt that’s helpful but the next time I see it, I’ll post the brand name here.

  2. is it possible to get food poising from using the raw eggs?

    • Hi there, using raw eggs always comes with a warning. If you are serving people that are of good health and not too young or too old, and especially if you are using FRESH eggs that have been handled properly (i.e. always kept refrigerated), then there is minimal risk. I suspect that the warmth of the pasta is probably enough to ‘cook’ the raw egg, too. But if you’re not comfortable using the raw egg, then you can find many ‘carbonara’ recipes online that don’t use raw egg, but use cream instead. Although not as authentic, carbonara recipes that use cream are delicious too!

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