Wait, no cream?
That's probably wait you thought when you glanced at the recipe, right?
Actually, true, authentic pasta alla carbonara doesn't have any cream. Are you wondering how the dish gets its very silky, smooth, creamy texture? The egg yolks, cheese and pasta water all combine to make the luscious sauce. And the extra yolks make it even creamier.
Open a bottle of Pinot, play a little Bocelli or Pavarotti, and you're practically in Rome.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces guanciale (you can also use pancetta or thick cut bacon)
- 1 pound spaghetti (if you can buy it fresh or use homemade even better!)
- 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 2/3 cup grated Romano cheese
- 2 large eggs and 2 large egg yolks
- Freshly ground Black Pepper
Bring 6 quarts of water to boil in a large pot, and add 2 tablespoons salt.
Meanwhile, combine the olive oil and guanciale in a large and deep sauté pan set over medium heat. Cook until the guanciale has rendered its fat and is crispy and golden. Remove from the heat and set aside (do not drain the fat).
Cook the spaghetti in the boiling water until just al dente.
While the spaghetti is cooking in a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks and pecorino and Parmesan. Season with a pinch of salt and generous black pepper.
When the pasta is done BEFORE you drain it, scoop out ¼ cup of the pasta cooking water and set aside. DON'T skip this -- the pasta water has starch which will help create a super smooth and creamy sauce.
Drain the pasta.
Add the reserved pasta water to the pan with the guanciale, then toss in the pasta and heat, shaking the pan, for 1 minute.
Take the pan off the hot stove. This is a SUPER important step. If you add the egg mixture to the hot pan you'll curdle the eggs, and scrambled egg carbonara isn't what we're going for here.
Carefully pour in egg and cheese mixture, and use tongs to mix it in with the warm pasta. If the sauce seems too thick, add a little of the pasta water at a time to make the sauce creamier.
Divide the pasta among four warmed serving bowls.
Serve with extra Parmigiano-Reggiano and a touch of fresh pepper.