To make a creamy and authentic Spaghetti Carbonara dish, you need the right ingredients – spaghetti, eggs, pecorino cheese, some black pepper and one important ingredients is guanciale, an Italian cured meat product prepared from pork jowl or cheeks. Guanciale is not readily available in some parts of the world, and definitely in Singapore, it’s easier to find pancetta than guanciale.
Spaghetti Carbonara or Pasta Carbonara is a typical primi piatti (aka first course) of Roman cuisine. This pasta dish uses very simple ingredients and has rather humble history since the 1940s, with most sources tracing its origin to the region of Lazio. Some theories relate the name carbonara to carbonaro, Italian word for charcoal burner, implying that the dish was made for Italian charcoal workers. Others suggest that it was a pasta dish sought by the American officers after the Allied liberation of Rome in 1940s.
Regardless of its origin, it’s definitely one of the well known Italian pasta dish, notably having different variations outside of Italy. It’s highly frowned upon to use cream to create the creamy texture, no no that’s not how Italians will do it. Due to the rarity of the guanciale in some parts of the world, some recipes use pancetta or bacon, which is perfectly fine. Parmesan cheese is also frequently used as a substitute to pecorino cheese.
I’ve tried cooking it a couple of times, sometimes the sauce came out to be smooth and creamy, sometimes a little crumbly (because the pan is still quite hot and I wasn’t quick enough with the egg and cheese sauce), but still super delicious. This is one of my favourite pasta and a regular on my lunch preps.
If you love pasta, and would like another pasta recipe, do check out my post on Sardines Pasta with a little Spicy Kick.
- 100 g guanciale sliced
- 1 large egg
- 100 g pecorino cheese
- 1 portion spaghetti
- 1 pinch black pepper freshly crushed
- Boil the pasta in the water, add the pasta in when the water starts boiling. I didn't add any salt to the water as the peroriono guanciale is salty enough for my taste. It should take about 10 min to cook the pasta until al dente.
- Prepare the egg & cheese sauce by whisking the egg and cheese evenly into a consistent mixture.
- If the guanciale comes in a large slice, you might see a hard lining of the skin, remove the skin. Slice the guanciale into thin slices.
- Start cooking the guanciale over medium heat. You do not need to add any oil and the guanciale is made of mainly fats and the fat will melt over the heat. The fatty part of the guanciale will eventually become translucent and you will see a considerable amount of oil in the pan.
- This to me is optional but if you are particular about the amount of fat consumption, you can remove some fat from the pan before adding the pasta.
- Add the pasta and mix evenly with the oil from the guanciale over low heat.
- Turn off the heat to prepare for the next step, ie adding the egg and cheese sauce. Otherwise the egg might be cooked into scrambled eggs, over the heat.
- Add egg & cheese sauce, and mix quickly. You got to be really fast at this step, in order to avoid having the egg getting cooked. The sauce should be creamy, maybe a little crumbly at most.
- Serve the spaghetti carbonara onto a plate. Sprinkle more pecorino cheese & some black pepper over the pasta.
- Serve & enjoy!