After doing the amatriciana bianca or gricia, this other classic pasta dish was just waiting to be fixed in my kitchen. Both gricia and spaghetti alla carbonara are very similar to each other because of the use of guanciale but the latter has eggs and a lot of pepper because carbonara refers to charcoal.
If you like gricia, then most likely you would also like this pasta because the most dominant flavor is the guanciale (unless you don't like eggs). Some recipes would include cream to attain the creaminess of the sauce but most Italians would shake their heads on that with horrified expressions. Cream is not commonly used in Italian cooking (my relief on that!). Instead, to attain the creaminess in the sauce, you have to whisk the cheese and eggs well and avoid cooking the eggs.
Enjoy this simple and classic pasta!
Spaghetti alla Carbonara
- 400 g. spaghetti
- 200 g. guanciale (or pancetta), diced
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 whole egg
- 75 g. pecorino romano
- 75 g. parmigiano reggiano (optional, you can also use just pecorino romano instead of dividing 50-50 with the cheeses)
- black pepper
- Boil water for the pasta. When it boils, add water then the pasta. Cook al dente or following the cooking time suggested in the package minus 2 minutes.
- In small bowl, mix the egg yolks, egg, pecorino romano and parmigiano reggiano. Whisk well.
- In a saucepan, toast diced guanciale until they become crunchy. Turn off fire.
- When the pasta is al dente, transfer to a big bowl. Pour the egg & cheese mixture immediately. Add the guanciale with a little bit of its oil. Mix well. Sprinkle a lot of pepper or according to taste.
- *Note: The eggs should be mixed with the pasta away from the fire to avoid cooking of the eggs. They should cook slowly with the heat of the pasta and remain creamy. If you mix the spaghetti with the egg & cheese mixture in the saucepan where you cooked the guanciale, even with the fire off, the eggs would still cook and you will not attain the creamy texture but will have pieces of cooked eggs.