Spaghetti a la Carbonara

Getting together with family is always such an enjoyable thing to do.  Especially when it involves cooking, eating, and WINE!  In our family, we try to do this as much as possible.  Last weekend, we decided to call in the troops for a traditional family dinner night.  Since everyone LOVES pasta in our Italian family, of course we decided to cook up a pasta.  Opening up the refrigerator really provided us with some insight… because what do ya know?  Right there in the fridge, PANCETTA!  So, naturally we decided to whip up spaghetti a la carbonara.  One of our very faves!

Now, you can totally use bacon in this recipe, but us Italians love Pancetta.  Which makes sense, seeing as it is the Italian version of bacon.  Pancetta is perfect for this recipe because it doesn’t give off that smoky flavor that bacon usually does.  But if you like that flavor in your pasta, go for the bacon.  Pancetta is also laced with black pepper, which is great for this dish, since it is already peppery.

So, having a big family is a plus… nothing better than putting everyone to work in the kitchen, chopping, washing, mixing, whisking, pouring, etc., etc.  It really makes the process go much faster, leaving more time to sip on that Pinot Noir.

Now, contrary to what one might believe, based on its delicious creaminess, spaghetti a la carbonara contains absolutely no cream.  The creaminess comes from mixing together, the egg yolks, cheese, and pasta water.  You won’t even miss the cream, trust us!  The key to the execution of this dish is to toss the mixture into the cooked pasta–off the heat.  The pasta should be creamy but not overly thick.  Then obviously, refill the wine glasses, cheers, and enjoy!

 

Spaghetti a la Carbonara

  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients

  • spaghetti
  • 4 large pasteurized eggs
  • pancetta (cubed)
  • 1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese (grated)
  • cracked pepper (lots of it)
  • salt
  • parsley (for garnish)

Instructions

  1. Cook spaghetti according to box instructions for al dente.

    Note: generously salt the water.
    Note: reserve 1/2 cup water once pasta is cooked.

  2. Meanwhile, heat a pan over medium heat and saute pancetta (3 minutes, or 5 minutes if you like it crispier). Remove from heat.

  3. In a bowl (or I used a Pyrex measuring cup), combine eggs and cheeses until well incorporated and set aside.

  4. Introduce the pan of pancetta back to medium heat and add 1/4 cup of the reserved water and the al dente pasta to the pan. Stir everything together just until the water has evaporated.

  5. Remove the pan from the heat (this step is very important). Begin to pour the egg and cheese mixture to the pan and stir rapidly until it develops into a creamlike sauce. If it becomes too thick, you can thin it out with the rest of the reserved water.

  6. Season with a generous amount of cracked black pepper. Add salt to taste.

  7. Distribute into bowls, garnish with parsley, and ENJOY!!