Carbonara is an Italian treasure. Creamy, spicy, silky; a good carbonara can change your day (maybe even). However, it is far too often butchered with the addition of creams, meats, sauces etc. True Italians would throw a fit if they saw the likes of it.
There are 5 components to a carbonara. 5 ingredients. That's it.
Spaghetti. Guanciale. Eggs. Parmesan Cheese. Black Pepper.
Guanciale is a fatty cut of pork cheek, similar to bacon or lardons. You can be forgiven for not using this exact cut of bacon. Once there's a good fat rind on it to fry in the pan and create those delicious flavours and bacon tones in the dish then any cut will work.
For a richer, deeper colour in the dish then you could use 2 yokes to 1 whole egg, however 2 whole eggs work perfectly. The key to the sauce is the combination of the starch water from the spaghetti and the cheese/egg mix. The most vital part of the recipe is to remove the pan from the heat as you add the eggs, or else they could scramble. The latent heat in the pan with the hot starch water added will be enough to make that silky 'cream' like sauce.
Keep it simple. The basics work.
- 2 eggs
- 80 spaghetti
- 30-40g parmesan cheese
- pinch of black pepper
- 30g guanciale (bacon lardons)
Fry the bacon with a generous seasoning of black pepper until crispy.
In a large pot of boiling water, add oil, salt and boil the spaghetti for 4-6 minutes.
When 90% cooked, pull the spaghetti from the water and add to the frying pan (off the heat). Beat 2 eggs with 30g grated cheese and add to the spaghetti in the pan and toss until a sauce is formed. Use some of the pasta water (1 ladle) to make the sauce and thicken it. Return to a low heat if needed to bring the sauce together, constantly stirring and tossing.
Top with a garnish of cheese, parsley and enjoy!