pasta carbonara
Cooking Italian Style Learn Italian Video

Carbonara

The Pasta alla Carbonara, one of the most famous Italian dishes all around the world. For those who have never been to Italy, and never actually tried a real pasta Carbonara, it might be shocking to find out, that the traditional Italian pasta carbonara doesn’t contain things like fresh cream, or any other cream!

Pasta alla Carbonara

The traditional pasta Carbonara is a really simple dish. So simple, that most of us already have everything for it in this second in our fridge/freezer. Don’t believe me? Do you have right now at home eggs? Salt, pepper? Bacon? If you can get guanciale (pork cheek) that’s not yet sliced, or pancetta (bacon) that’s in cubes or not sliced, that’s the perfect one to use! These four ingredients are the base of the pasta Carbonara! Of course, the grated parmesan (Parmigiano) shouldn’t miss from the top at serving either, yet still, the carbonara is a super simple dish that you can easily do at home, whenever!

I can see on the web so many times people searching for easy pasta carbonara recipes. The Pasta alla Carbonara is easy. In different countries around the world they made it complicated, adding in a lot of ingredients that make the Carbonara not to be a real Carbonara.

Here’s a short film from Barilla that’s presenting how the Carbonara was born in WW2.

We also wrote about the history of the Pasta alla Carbonara and life in Italy during WW2, where you can see that food was a luxury. You could find cheese just on the black market, and there weren’t too many ingredients available for cooking fancy, delicious things. Italian cuisine is anyway based on simplicity, but during the war, this became even more into the spotlight. So again, if you want to know how to make pasta Carbonara recipe the right way, don’t use anything else just the essentials.

Pasta Carbonara recipe – The real Pasta alla Carbonara

Ingredients

  • Pasta
  • Egg
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Guanciale (or if you can’t find that, Pancetta – Bacon)
  • Grated Parmesan (Parmiggiano Regiano) cheese

How to make a traditional pasta Carbonara?

Depending on what type of meat you’ve got, if it’s chopped already or not, you must chop them in tiny cubes and roast them in a pan. Make sure to not over-roast them! They shouldn’t be crusty but should be cooked enough to not be raw. In the meantime, put the water to a boil and add salt to it! Once the guanciale (or bacon) is ready, put it aside, but leave it in the pan, as you’ll need the pan for the last step.

When the water is boiling, add the pasta in and cook it al dente. In the meantime, beat the eggs, add salt and pepper, 1 tbs of grated parmesan cheese, mix it, and leave it on the side. When the pasta is getting ready, add 2-3 tablespoons of water to the eggs! This will help the sauce stay creamy! Then, drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the guanciale. On really low heat mix it together for 1-2 minutes, so the pasta will soak up the flavor. And here comes the magic that many people fail to do right!

When you’re adding the eggs to the pasta and guanciale (or bacon) you must keep the heat really low. Then, as soon as you’ve added the eggs in, mix it well for 1-2 minutes. Pay attention on the egg!!! If you see that it’s getting creamy enough, turn off the heat right away! If you overcook it, the pasta Carbonara will not be creamy, and the egg will get lumpy. The lumpy egg on the pasta is still good, but it’s definitely not as tasty as if it stayed creamy.

Important highlights to make the perfect Carbonara:

  • When you’ve added the eggs, cook on Low Heat!
  • Stir it for 1-2 minutes!
  • Take off the heat as soon as it got creamy!
  • Don’t overcook so the eggs won’t get lumpy!

Once the eggs got creamy, your pasta Carbonara is ready to be served. At serving, add some freshly grated parmesan cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano) on top, and enjoy the perfect traditional taste of Italy!

In this video, Elisa and Cristina will teach you how to cook Pasta alla Carbonara and at the same time you can learn Italian!

P.S. You will notice that they are adding olive oil into the Carbonara. According to the many nonne I’ve spoken to, this isn’t common in Italy!

Written by Helga Dosa

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