Spaghetti alla Carbonara

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Some people are hesitant about making this dish as it uses raw eggs, which cooks when tossed with the hot pasta.  The trick is not cooking the eggs to the point of scrambled but to get it thick enough to make a sauce with the addition of cheese and reserved pasta water.  I only use 2 eggs but if you want a thicker sauce, use more as needed.

The recipe does not require a lot of  ingredients but it’s very tasty and rich. A true Spaghetti alla Carbonara recipe uses Guanciale which is unsmoked Italian bacon using pig’s cheeks. Pancetta which is cured Italian bacon (not smoked) is a good substitute as  guanciale is not easily available. I use diced pancetta found at  Trader Joes which comes in a 4 oz  package (I use 2 packages as I love the flavor it brings to the pasta).  If you don’t like pancetta, another substitute would be bacon. Garlic is also not in the traditional recipe but I like how it adds to the overall taste of  the dish!

Serves:  6-8

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dry spaghetti
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4-8 ounces pancetta, diced into small cubes
  • 2-3 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups  finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesean cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped parsley for garnish ( optional)

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook uncovered 8- 10 minutes or until al dente.

While spaghetti is cooking, heat olive oil in a large sautè pan or skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook until browned and a little crispy. Add garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes.

In a bowl, beat eggs and mix in 1 cup of cheese.

Once spaghetti is done, drain and add to pan and toss to coat with the  pancetta and garlic. Reserve about 1 cup of pasta water as you will be using the starch liquid for the sauce.

Transfer pasta to a large bowl and while still hot, pour the egg mixture to pasta, stirring quickly until eggs have thickened and pasta is well coated and creamy. Thin out the sauce with reserved pasta water, adding little at a time and mixing, to reach desired consistency (you will not need all of the reserved water).  Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with remaining cheese and parsley.

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