Pasta Alla Carbonara

07 October 2010 16 comments

There are many versions of Carbonara. Even in Italy, restaurants make this dish different ways. While in Rome, we tasted three different takes on this dish. Italian food purists will tell you that a 'real' Carbonara does not have cream while others prefer to use cream to get the texture they prefer. We ate at a restaurant in Borgo Pio near the Vatican and they served their Carbonara using spaghetti and without the cream plus it was loaded with freshly ground black pepper. The restaurant we went to near Piazza Navona meanwhile used ziti and cream in their Carbonara which my family and I prefer. The traditional style is just too dry and we prefer our Carbonara to be a little creamy. Whatever style you prefer, Carbonara is an easy recipe to follow and prepare. These recipes are from Emeril Lagasse and Gourmet magazine and I tweaked it to suit my family's taste (I omitted the butter, used less oil, doubled the liquid, etc.) If you don't have Pancetta, use bacon; if you like garlic, add it with the onions. As with any recipe, you can tweak it to suit your personal taste.


1 tsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped finely
3 pcs pancetta or bacon diced
1 pound pasta
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup 1% milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
ground black pepper

All ingredients should be at room temperature for even and fast cooking (eggs, heavy cream, milk and cheese).

Heat oil over medium heat. Add the onion and pancetta and cook until the onions are wilted and the pancetta is brown. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente. While the pasta is cooking, whisk together the egg yolks and heavy cream in a bowl and set aside.

Drain the pasta and reserve a cup of the water. Return pasta to the pot and over high heat, add the pancetta and onion mixture. Stir until the pasta is coated with the pancetta mixture.

Add to the egg yolk/heavy cream mixture to the pasta, along with the Parmesan. Remove the pot from the heat and toss the pasta until it is well-coated. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. If needed, add a bit of the reserved pasta cooking liquid to help toss the pasta if it is dry. If it's too watery, add more parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

5 pcs pancetta or bacon
1 medium onion, chopped finely
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 pound pasta
3 large eggs*
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt

Slice pancetta into cubes and brown in a pan. Add onions and cook until wilted. Add wine and boil until it's reduced by half. Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente. Meanwhile, mix the eggs, the two cheeses, black pepper, salt in a bowl.
Drain the pasta and add to the onion and wine mixture. Under lowe heat, mix well until all the pasta is coated. Remove the pan from the stove and add the egg mixture. Serve while warm.


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