Spaghetti alla Carbonara
The beauty of this classic dish is its simplicity. You’ll get the best results if you use the highest-quality ingredients, such as fresh organic eggs, imported pancetta or thick-sliced lean bacon and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
- 3 Tbs. olive oil
- 1/4 lb. pancetta or bacon, chopped
- 3 Tbs. water
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 3 eggs, at room temperature, beaten
- 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 3/4 tsp. plus 2 Tbs. salt
- 1 lb. spaghetti
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
Make the sauce
In a large fry pan over medium heat, warm 1 Tbs. of the oil. Add the pancetta and the 3 Tbs. water and cook until the water has evaporated. Add the garlic and the remaining 2 Tbs. oil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pancetta is browned, about 4 minutes. Stir in the wine and cook until most of the alcohol has evaporated, about 1 minute.
In a large serving bowl, beat the eggs with the cheese and the 3/4 tsp. salt; set aside.
Cook the pasta
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the 2 Tbs. salt and the pasta to the boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until al dente, according to the package instructions. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
Working quickly, add the hot pasta to the egg mixture and toss to coat. The heat of the pasta will cook the eggs. Add as much of the cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce. Add the pancetta mixture, a generous amount of pepper and the parsley. Toss again and serve immediately. Serves 4.
Note: This recipe contains eggs that are only partially cooked. They run a risk of being infected with salmonella or other bacteria, which can lead to food poisoning. This risk is of most concern to small children, older people, pregnant women and anyone with a compromised immune system. If you have health and safety concerns, do not consume raw or partially cooked eggs; seek out a pasteurized egg product to replace them.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Pasta, by Julia della Croce (Oxmoor House, 2006).