Spaghetti alla Carbonara is one of the most popular recipes of the Italian cuisine. Truth be told, there are a million versions out there, many of them utterly delicious. The following is the one we refined through years of practice, definitely not for the faint hearted. Remember our golden rule: quality ingredients go a long way and can make a huge difference between a good dish, or an amazing one.
Ingredients for 2
4 egg yolks
about 1 egg white - keep it on a side when you separate the eggs
70g Pecorino Cheese - grated
170g diced Guanciale (rather hard to find) or Pancetta
Salt & Pepper to taste
1. Cut the guanciale and place in a pan on low to medium heat for about 20 minutes. The fat needs to melt, to leave space to a slightly crispy texture.
2. Bring salted water to a boil, add pasta and stir occasionally especially in the first few minutes.
3. In a bowl whisk for about 5 minutes the grated pecorino cheese, the eggs yolks and white, and pepper to taste. It should get roughly as thick as a custard. If the mix is too thick (likely), add some of the water from the pasta towards the end of the cooking time (at that point water has some starches dissolved in it, to help, make sure it cools down a little so that it doesn't scrumble the egg yolks).
4. When cooked "al dente", drain the pasta, but remeber to keep on a side a few spoons of cooking water per person, as it may come handy later.
5. Remove a large part of the melted fat from the guanciale (keep it on a side in case you realise you may like to add back some of it), and add the pasta into the pan, stir it for a few minutes with the fats at medium heat. Turn the heat off.
6. This is the tricky part: you want the pan warm but not hot when you pour the eggs mixture on pasta. If the pan is too hot, it'll scramble the eggs at the bottom, and that's a big no no, if too cold, it won't thicken enough and you'll end up with a spaghetti soup. Use your judgment and a little experience.
7. Pour the egg+pecorino mixture in the spaghetti, and toss until the spaghetti are creamy. If too thick, add a couple of spoons of the cooking water you kept on a side. On the opposite, turn on low to medium heat for about 10 seconds, then off.