My son, Luke DeSando, shows a simple way to cook Pasta Carbonara. In his recipe, there is no added cream or butter. And you avoid scrambling the eggs by tempering them. The result is a creamy texture and fully cooked eggs. I think creaminess is the main goal. The explanation of tempering is in the recipe.
This is a timing sort of recipe. I highly suggest reading the recipe entirely, before starting to cook. But Pasta Carbonara can be made in about the time it takes to cook pasta in boiling water.
What not to do with Pasta Carbonara
Here is a shortlist of some things you should not do!! Don’t sauté any onions! Garlic is not in the recipe! No need to add butter. No parsley, basil, or any other spices (except salt and pepper). Don’t cook the egg separately! Don’t spoil a classic Italian dish!
Don’t use egg noodles. Eggs are already in the sauce!
Pasta Carbonara is a classic Italian dish. If you want a real carbonara, don’t add anything else to the list of ingredients in the recipe. The one variation you can do is use pancetta (bacon) instead of guanciale. But only if you don’t find the jowl (guanciale)! Thick bacon will also work in a pinch. But Guanciale is the classic ingredient.
The fat in the sauce is derived by the oil from the bacon. You don’t need cream. The Pasta Carbonara sauce isn’t cooked directly on the fire. The sauce is mixed with very hot pasta. If you cook it, it will become scrambled eggs! Cream just makes it fatter. Save the cream for your coffee.
- Pot of boiling water, saucepan, large mixing bowl
- 1 pound Pasta choose your favorite type of pasta
- Salt for pasta water
- 4-5 slices thick bacon cut into 1/2-inch pieces (or use guanciale or pancetta)
- 1¼ cups grated Pecorino Romano (substitute Parmesan if you like)
- 3 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
- Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
- In a pot of boiling, salted water, start to cook your pasta according to the directions on the box. (Timing for this dish is very important.)
- At the same time, cook the chopped bacon/guanciale/pancetta in pan without any oil.
- Using the boiling, salted pasta water, add a couple of tablespoons as needed to deglaze the pan of bacon, as it cooks.
- Cook bacon until lightly golden and there are several tablespoons of bacon fat in the pan.
- While the bacon cooks, whisk your egg yolks and egg together in a big serving bowl.
- Whisk the grated cheese into the egg mixture. Should be a frothy consistency.
- Slowly and carefully, drizzle the hot, bacon fat into the egg/cheese mixture, to temper the eggs, while continually whisking the mixture. (See Tempering below*)
- Add the cooked bacon/guanciale/pancetta to the egg/cheese mixture
- When your pasta is cooked al dente, use a pasta fork to work in batches and add about 1/3 of the cooked pasta to your bowl of egg/cheese/guanciale mixture.
- Stir the pasta to have it absorb the creamy egg/cheese/bacon flavor.
- Repeat with the remaining 2/3, 1/3 at a time, until you have added all the pasta
- Add fresh ground black pepper to taste.
- Serve and top every plate with more Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan)
* “Tempering” is just a fancy way of saying that you want to mix two liquids of different temperatures together without altering the texture of the liquids.
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