It is funny how Italians can be some “purists” when it comes to the real preparation of some specific dishes like pizza and pasta. One of this is the well renowned Spaghetti alla Carbonara that divided the crowds of Italians and non-Italians for many years, debating on matters such: cream or no cream? whole eggs or just yolks? spaghetti only or any cut of pasta? onion? wine? guanciale or pancetta?
The answer is that you should make it as pleases you!
My recipe is a simple one that doesn’t require any difficult preparation and no cream; in fact the creaminess is given by emulsifying the fat of the eggs with the starch contained in the noodle and adding some of the cooking water.
What makes the difference in making this simple but hard dish is not to create a “frittata” style sauce by overcooking the eggs mixture and just having an emulsion of the ingredients, and of course using a good guanciale or pancetta and Pecorino cheese that has a bit of a “zing”
2 eggs at room temperature
2oz guanciale or pancetta diced
2 tbsp of pecorino cheese grated
Salt & black pepper
Heat up enough water to cook your spaghetti adding 1 tbsp of salt once it begins to boil. Add the spaghetti and cook “al dente” which usually it is 10 minutes.
In a separate pan, brown the diced guanciale (or pancetta) in a tsp of olive oil keeping the heat low, avoiding to crisp up the meat.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the pecorino cheese and add the black pepper (preferably freshly cracked), leave aside.
Once the pasta is ready, drain and preserve a cup of the cooking water.
Add the spaghetti in the pan where you browned the guanciale (or pancetta) sauteeing for few minustes till the flavours are combined. Add the hot pasta with guanciale in the bowl with the egg&cheese mixture and toss for few minutes paying attention that the eggs won’t curdle up becoming a “frittata”; to help having a creamier result, add a bit of the preserved cooking water to emulsify all together.
Serve hot, grate more cheese and crack more black pepper if desired.