Indulge in the creamy, comforting embrace of a classic Italian favorite – Carbonara. This rich and savory pasta dish hailing from Rome is a true masterpiece of simplicity and flavor. It’s a delightful combination of al dente spaghetti, crispy pancetta, creamy egg and cheese sauce, and a hint of black pepper. Our Carbonara recipe is designed to serve four, making it an ideal choice for a cozy family dinner or an intimate gathering with friends. Let’s dive into the world of authentic Italian cooking and create a Carbonara that’s sure to leave everyone at the table wanting more.
For the Pasta:
- 12 ounces (340g) spaghetti
- Salt for boiling water
For the Sauce:
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmesan)
- 4 ounces (115g) pancetta or guanciale, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish (optional)
- Start by bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add the spaghetti and cook it according to the package instructions until it’s al dente. This usually takes about 8-10 minutes.
- While the pasta is cooking, in a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and grated Pecorino Romano cheese until well combined. Season with a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. Set this mixture aside.
- In a skillet over medium heat, add the diced pancetta or guanciale. Cook until it becomes crispy and golden brown, which should take about 5-7 minutes. If you prefer a slightly less intense flavor, you can add a minced clove of garlic to the skillet just before the pancetta is done and cook it for an additional minute or so.
- Once the pasta is cooked to al dente, reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water, and then drain the pasta.
- Working quickly, return the drained pasta to the pot it was cooked in while it’s still hot. Pour the egg and cheese mixture over the hot pasta. The heat from the pasta will gently cook the eggs, creating a creamy sauce. Add the crispy pancetta (and garlic) to the pot as well.
- Toss everything together until the pasta is well coated with the creamy sauce. If it seems a bit too thick, you can gradually add some of the reserved pasta cooking water until you reach your desired consistency.
- Serve your Carbonara hot, garnished with additional grated Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly ground black pepper, and chopped fresh parsley if you like.