Spaghetti alla carbonara

5 November 2017

Linguine alla carbonara Italians are adamant that carbonara contains no cream, contrary to how Americans make it. I confess that for years I made carbonara the American way, primarily because I found the sauce too thick without cream to loosen it. More recently, I’ve realised that using pasta water rather than cream solves the thickness problem without making the sauce overwhelmingly rich.

  • For two servings:
    80–100 g diced pancetta, bacon, or guanciale
    3–4 garlic cloves, chopped
    4 egg yolks
    100 g grated parmesan
    200 g spaghetti or linguine
    Olive oil, black pepper
  • In a large pan, cook the pancetta in a good glug of olive oil over a medium heat for about 5–10 minutes, until just starting to brown. Add the garlic and cook for a further five minutes or so until everything is crispy and golden, then remove the pan from the heat.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the egg yolks, most of the parmesan, and a lot of freshly ground black pepper until just combined.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of very salty water to the boil, and cook the pasta until just shy of done. Reserve a mug of the pasta water and put the drained pasta into the pan with the pancetta and garlic. Add some pasta water and cook over a medium-high heat, tossing constantly, for a minute or so, until the sauce is emulsified but quite loose (remember that the egg and cheese will make it substantially thicker).
  • Remove from the heat and toss in the egg, cheese, and pepper mixture. Serve immediately, topped with the remaining parmesan and, if you like, a little more olive oil.