How to cook carbonara without committing crimes against food
A simple guide to cooking one of the most loved Italian dishes
Pasta carbonara is one of the most famous Italian dishes, along with, obviously, pizza and – sigh – the non-existent spaghetti Bolognese.
It would seem, however, that making a *real* carbonara is a difficult task for everyone around the world, and sometimes for Italians as well.
For us Italians, food is a very serious subject, and carbonara is one of the most mistreated dishes of our variegated and secular cuisine. Every time you put sour cream in your carbonara an Italian Grandma cries – so let's learn the proper way to cook this pasta-based meal and stop committing crimes against humanity.
Disappointed Italian Grandma.jpg
Cooking the pasta correctly
First of all, we need to point out the correct way to cook pasta. I have many foreign friends, and I have heard a few terrifying ways to cook something simple as a plate of pasta. It's easy to do it the right way, so let's start with the basic rules.
First, choose a good quality brand of pasta. It's essential for having a good taste and guarantees the right amount of thickness. There are several brands abroad as well, one of the best is Rummo, a good choice is also De Checco or the more famous Barilla, but I personally suggest the first two I've mentioned.
Cooking it is a piece of cake actually – I struggle to understand how such a simple process can be mistaken, but it happens, so...
Pick a pot big enough to accommodate a reasonable amount of pasta, fill it at a reasonable level under the edge with cold water and put it on the cooker. When the water is boiling throw a handful of coarse salt in the pot and then put the pasta in as well. Set a timer following the cooking timing on the packaging to have a pasta "al dente" meaning with the right consistency at the bite. When it's ready, use a colander to get rid of the water and add the garnish – tomato sauce or whatever you fancy.
Back to the carbonara
You don't need many ingredients. Just these and nothing else. Nothing.
• Guanciale, which is basically Italian bacon. The quantity is variable by personal taste or level of hungriness, usually, I use a hectogram and a half (150g) for each person. The Guanciale should be cut in slices thick less of half an inch for a perfectly crispy and juicy result.
• Pasta obviously, same quantity rules for bacon: 100 grams per person
• An egg for each person. If possible fresh eggs from the countryside as the yolk would not be cooked
• Grated Pecorino cheese, for quantities, see above
1) First of all, put the pot with boiling water on the cooker, while waiting, take the guanciale slices and remove the rind, then, cut the slice vertically into tiny strips.
2) When all of your tiny tasty guanciale slices are cut, put them in a pan, and let them cook slowly until they're a little crispy. There's no need to use oil or butter, the natural fat of the meat will do the job.
3) Take a bowl and break the eggs, separating the white firm the yolks, keep the yolks and mix them with Pecorino cheese.
4) When the pasta is ready, get rid of the water, put the pasta back into the pan and mix it with the meat, then add the creamy yolk and cheese and mix again.
Put it on a plate and add an extra grate of Pecorino, and your carbonara is ready. Buon appetito!