- 1 pound of dry pasta (spaghetti, fettuccine, penne, etc.)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces pancetta
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, more for garnish
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
- First off, it is important to realize that the pasta sauce and the pasta need to be prepared very carefully for this dish to work. Prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking to ensure that the pasta will be hot and ready when the sauce is finished. The pasta MUST be hot when adding the egg mixture, so that the heat of the pasta cooks the raw eggs in the sauce.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes or until tender, yet firm. Drain the pasta well, but reserve 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water to use in the sauce (if you wish).
- While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a deep skillet over medium flame. Add pancetta and saute for about 3 minutes, until the pancetta is cooked. Add garlic and saute for less than one minute to soften.
- Add the hot, drained pasta to the pan and toss for 2 minutes to coat the strands in the bacon fat. Beat the eggs and Parmesan together in a mixing bowl, stirring well to prevent lumps.
- Remove the pan from the heat, and pour egg/cheese mixture into the pasta, whisking quickly until the eggs thicken, but do not scramble (this is why the pan must be removed from heat).
- Thin out the sauce with a bit of the reserved pasta water, until it reaches your desired consistency. Season the carbonara with several turns of freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste. Mound the pasta carbonara into warm serving dishes and garnish with fresh parsley. Top with Parmesan cheese.
Pasta alla carbonara is one of my absolute favorites. This is a recipe that I’ve found works the best for this dish, and the ingredients are simple enough that I usually have most in my kitchen already. This dish is delicious whether you make it at home, or order it in an Italian restaurant. If it’s on the menu, it’s usually the one I order.
If you can’t find pancetta or don’t have any, bacon is a fine substitute. Just make sure you chop it into smaller pieces to give it the same effect!