By Ippolita Douglas Scotti:
Spaghetti alla Carbonara is a traditional dish from Rome. It is made with only a few of simple ingredients: spaghetti seasoned with browned guanciale (cured pork cheek—*if you can't find it, you can use bacon) black pepper, Pecorino Romano and beaten eggs.
In the traditional recipe for Spaghetti all Carbonara, you need no other ingredients, so don’t make the blasphemic Pasta alla Carbonara that I’ve eaten in other parts of the planet: don’t add, cream, parsley, mushrooms and other bizarre ingredients!
This is the original recipe, it is easy, but you need to follow a few tricks to make a perfect Carbonara and not a plate of scrambled eggs and spaghetti with some strange things inside.
To make a perfect original Spaghetti alla Carbonara dish you don’t need to add extra oil to brown the guanciale or the bacon, it is already very fat and greasy!
Making the eggs-pecorino sauce is an art, and if you want a delicious creamy sauce, you need to toss the pasta in raw eggs. This is the crucial moment of Spaghetti alla Carbonara: when the spaghetti and guanciale are sizzling in the pan, you need to turn off the heat, otherwise the eggs will cook too much and you’ll find yourself with lumps of scrambled eggs mixed with spaghetti. Disgusting!
Pay attention to the consistency, which must be creamy but not fluid. If it is too liquid, add more pecorino, it will absorb the watery sauce.
Last trick, don’t add salt, pecorino is already very salty.
And when Spaghetti alla Carbonara is ready, serve immediately.
Are you ready for the perfect Carbonara?
Spaghetti alla Carbonara
14 oz. (400 g) spaghetti
7 oz. (200 g) guanciale or bacon
4 whole eggs (one each)
4 oz. (100 g) Pecorino Romano cheese
Freshly ground pepper
Cut the guanciale or bacon into small pieces (cubes, or slices), then simmer in a frying pan over medium heat.
Cook the spaghetti al dente in boiling salted water.
Meanwhile whisk the Pecorino Romano with the whole eggs and a little bit of ground black pepper. Stir quickly with a fork until creamy and set aside.
When the spaghetti is ready, drain the pasta and add it in the pan with guanciale. Heat and mix well.
Turn off the heat and stir in the egg and pecorino sauce. Keep stirring until creamy and all the pasta is coated. Serve immediately.
Contessa Ippolita Douglas Scotti di Vigileno is a true Italian—born in Florence, Italy, from a long line of eccentric Italian aristocrats, she has traveled the world in search of adventure, romance, and magical, mouth-watering recipes. "Ippo" loves Italian history, especially as it relates to food. Author of There's a Beatle in My Soup, Curcuma e Zenzero (Ginger & Tumeric), 101 Perche Sulla Storia di Firenze (101 questions on Florence History), and Superfoods, Ippo is currently finishing her latest work, The Lords of Florence (all published by Newton Compton Publishers).