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Spaghetti alla Carbonara

The Food Mentor

This Italian classic is rich and smoky and delicious.

    Prep time
    8 min
    Cook time
    15 min
Main Dishes

Put 6 quarts of water in a tall pot to boil.

When chopping the Guanciale make sure the pieces are sliced thinly so the fat will render and the bits will get crispy and most importantly it will be easy to eat.

Add the chopped guanciale into a large saute pan and cook on medium until crispy. Meanwhile, separate 5 egg yolks and set aside the egg whiotes for another use. Add the whole egg and beat the whole mixture with a whisk or fork. Add the cracked pepper and the grated cheese and mix thoroughly. The mixture should be the consistency of pancake batter. If not you can add a bit more cheese.

Once the water boild add the tablespoon of salt and the spaghetti. Stir cocasionally to prevent sticking. It should take 10 - 12 minutes of boiling to cook depending on the brand.

At this point the guanciale should be nice and crispy. Remove some of the guanciale and set aside to use as garnish. Drain some of the rendered fat from the pan into a container and set aside for another use (brush it on steaks, omg). Be sure to leave some of the fat in the pan as that is where the smoky flavor comes from. Turn off the heat under the pan if the pasta isn't ready.

Once the spaghetti is cooked most of the way (it should still be firm) bring the heat back up to medium on the saute pan. Drag the pot over to the saute pan and using tongs, grab the pasta and drop it right into the hot pan with the fat and guanciale. Once all of the pasta is out of the pot and into the pan bring the heat all the way down. Then using a ladle. ladle some of the pasta water into the pan. We are going to be adding close to 2 cups of liquid but it will vary. Start without about 1 cup of li quid and then remove the pan from the heat and get ready to add the egg mixture.

It is very important that the pan not be too hot and that you are ready to start tossing the pasta quickly. This will prevent the egg from scrambling. We are looking for a yellow creamy sauce similar to hollandaise.

Essentially the eggs cook slowly with the cheese and pasta water forming a thin "custard". So add the egg mixture and quickly mix and toss with the tongs. Then add a bit more water from the pot. Monitor the heat in the pan. If you need to put it back on the heat. The heat will thicken the mixture. Keep doing this until you have a wonderfully creamy sauce.

Then quickly serve by garnishing with some guanciale bits, fresh creaked pepper and just a bit more freshly grated pecorino. This dish does not sit well so serve immediately.

Don't be discouraged if you don't get it perfect the first time. Don't stop trying. It's worth it!

1 comment
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7 months ago

I love spaghetti carbonara! 🍝 Thanks for the recipe! 😍