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"The Home Chef" Makes Pasta alla Carbonara

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Part syllabus, part autobiography, part call-to-arms, The Home Chef by Perry P. Perkins, is about the rapidly evolving landscape of cooking in America, and how to cook real food, the best food possible, in your own kitchen, and more importantly...why you should. Filled with insider tips and tricks from the professional kitchen, hundreds of links and resources to (free) professional level education, and easy to follow instructions from a professional cooking instructor, The Home Chef: Transforming the American Kitchen is culinary school for the home cook.

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“Pasta alla Carbonara”

Carbonara is an Italian pasta dish from Rome made with eggs, cheese (Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano),[1] bacon (guanciale or pancetta), and black pepper. Spaghetti is the usual pasta; however, fettuccine, rigatoni, linguine or bucatini can also be used. The dish was created in the middle of the 20th century.

Guanciale is the most commonly used meat in Italy, but pancetta and local bacon are also used. Recipes differ in the use of egg: some use the whole egg, others only the yolk, some a mixture.

Since the name is derived from carbonaro (the Italian word for charcoal burner), some believe the dish was first made as a hearty meal for Italian charcoal workers.

In 1950 it was described in the Italian newspaper La Stampa as a dish sought by the American officers after the allied liberation of Rome in 1944.[21] It was first described after the war as a Roman dish, when many Italians were eating eggs and bacon supplied by troops from the United States.

4 Servings

  • 3 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 8 ounces Guanciale (Pancetta or Bacon)
  • 1 pound Spaghetti or other long pasta
  • 1 1/4 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 4 large Eggs separated
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • Freshly ground Black Pepper

Bring 6 quarts of water to boil in a large pot, and add 2 tablespoons salts.

Meanwhile, combine the olive oil and guanciale in a 12- to 14-inch sauté pan set over medium heat, and cook until the guanciale has rendered its fat and is crispy and golden. Remove from the heat and set aside (drain the fat).

Cook the spaghetti in the boiling water until just al dente. Scoop out ¼ cup of the pasta cooking water and set aside. Drain the pasta.

Add the reserved pasta water to the pan with the guanciale, then toss in the pasta and heat, shaking the pan, for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, add 1 cup of the Parmigiano, the egg whites, and pepper to taste, and toss until thoroughly mixed. Add reserved pasta water, if needed, to maintain a smooth consistency.

Divide the pasta among four warmed serving bowls. Make a nest in the center of each one, and gently drop an egg yolk into each nest. Season the egg yolks with more pepper and sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup Parmigiano, and chopped parsley, over the top.

Serve immediately.