First came 30 minute meals, and then the 5 ingredient fix. Busy cooks always look for fast and easy ways to prepare everyday meals. Some of the simplest and best are classic Italian pasta preparations that don’t need a hook.
The first time I ate classic spaghetti carbonara was in a small restaurant in Rome, many years ago. I’ll never forget the creamy texture and salty bite. The best part, this pure perfection only takes as long to cook as your pasta.
Classic Spaghetti Carbonara
Prep Time: 5-7 minutes
Skill Level: Easy
Total Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes
- 1 pound Spaghetti
- 1 tablespoon Butter
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese (gently packed down)
- 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Cheese (gently packed down)
- 3 large Eggs (beaten)
- 3/4 cup cubed Pancetta (ask for thick slices of pancetta at the deli and cut into cubes at home)
- Fresh ground Black Pepper
Optional: Garnish with fresh, flat leaf parsley.
- Melt butter in a heavy pan and immediately add cubed pancetta pieces to the pan once butter is melted.
- Add spaghetti to salted boiling water.
- Allow pancetta to cook down in the pan as the spaghetti cooks. Stir occasionally.
- Right before the spaghetti is finished cooking (about 12 minutes) reserve 1/3 cup of the cooking water.
- Drain the pasta and immediately add to the pan with the cooked pancetta. Add the reserved pasta water and toss the spaghetti until coated.
- Pour the spaghetti/pancetta mixture into a large pasta serving bowl or other large bowl. Immediately mix in 1/2 the parmesan cheese, 1/2 the pecorino cheese and 1/2 the egg. Toss quickly. Add the remaining cheese and egg. Toss until completely coated. Add fresh ground pepper and serve.
CD Trick: The most important step in cooking the carbonara is to mix the egg and cheese off of the heat in a bowl, immediately after draining and tossing in the rendered pancetta. Do not rinse your pasta. The hot pasta/pancetta mixture will cook the egg. However, if you mix on the heat you risk the eggs beginning to scramble.
CD Note: Pancetta (Italian bacon) is widely available in supermarket deli’s. The ingredients above reflect a classic Roman Carbonara, however, you may use regular bacon for this recipe and 100% parmesan cheese in place of the pecorino. When using undercooked or raw eggs, there is always a slight risk of samonella. Use Safe Eggs if you are worried about that risk.