- Quality pasta: The basis of any Carbonara is an excellent selection of pasta. Italians tend to prefer spaghetti, but other types of pasta such as bucatini or rigatoni are also accepted.
- Guancale or pancetta: Carbonara purists opt for guanciale, an Italian charcuterie made with pork cheek, but pancetta is also widely used. Both offer a perfect balance of fatty and salty flavors.
- Pecorino Romano Cheese: A hard cheese, Pecorino Romano, is the key ingredient to add a touch of tangy flavor to Carbonara. It is important to grate it fresh to retain all the flavor.
- Fresh eggs: Eggs are the bond that creates Carbonara’s creamy sauce. Use fresh, high-quality eggs to ensure a creamy texture.
- Freshly ground black pepper: Black pepper is the only seasoning needed in Carbonara. Its spicy, earthy flavor perfectly complements the richness of the sauce.
In the kitchen
Cook the pasta in plenty of salted water until al dente. Reserve a cup of cooking water before draining. In a frying pan, fry the guanciale or pancetta until crispy but not too dry.
Remove the pan from the heat. In a bowl, beat the eggs and add the grated Pecorino Romano. Mix until smooth. Add the cooked pasta to the pan with the guanciale or pancetta. Mix well. Off the heat, pour the egg and cheese mixture over the pasta, stirring quickly to create a creamy sauce.
Add the reserved cooking water, if necessary. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste. Pepper is a key element to complete Carbonara. Serve immediately. In fact, Carbonara is best when served immediately, hot and freshly prepared.
Myths to debunk
No, the traditional Italian Carbonara does not use cream! The creamy sauce comes from mixing eggs and cheese. Additionally, an authentic Carbonara does not contain garlic or onion. Finally, Pecorino Romano in Carbonara should not be cooked directly over the heat. It must be removed from the heat to prevent it from melting completely.
You decide !