Spaghetti alla carbonara (or in this case, fettuccine alla carbonara). It's so simple, yet so delicious. And there is so much conjecture about how to make this. You will see cream used in many recipes, but don't be fooled - carbonara does not have any cream.
The meat can be either pancetta or guanciale - a cured pork cheek. Personally, I prefer pancetta - buy a slab of pancetta and cut into thick slices, then into batons (don't use the pre-sliced round pancetta).
This dish originated around Rome, but it doesn't appear to have a long history. Not that it really matters - it's delicious, so get cooking!
- 500g fresh pasta spaghetti or fettuccine (or you can use dried pasta instead)
- 3 eggs
- 200g pancetta (thick slices), cut into batons
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Sea salt
- Bring a large pot of salted water (it should taste like the ocean) to the boil.
- Cook the spaghetti for 3-4 minutes (8-10 minutes for dried pasta) or until al dente.
- When the pasta is done, set aside 1/2 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat a large frying pan over medium heat, and cook the pancetta for about 5 minutes, until crispy and golden. Turn off the heat.
- Whisk the eggs, the cheeses and a good pinch of salt in a small bowl until well-combined.
- Return the pancetta frying pan to medium heat, and add half of the reserved pasta water to the pan. Toss in the spaghetti and stir for a few seconds until the bubbling stops.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the egg mixture and stir quickly until the egg mixture thickens.
- The heat from the pan will cook the eggs but work quickly to stop the eggs from scrambling.
- If the sauce seems too thick, add a little more of the reserved pasta water.
- Season with freshly cracked black pepper to taste.