While I have always cooked this recipe mostly with thin spaghetti, I must say that this dish is so tasty that it will work with any long strand pasta version.
The word “carbonara” derives from the Italian word meaning charcoal. According to Wikipedia, it was thought that once this dish was primarily served to Italian charcoal workers. However, there seems to be a bit of controversy as others believe that this dish is called this way because it was cooked in ancient times over charcoals, yet some believe its name derives from the presence of the pepper resembling bits of carbon. In yet another version, people believe it originated and was created by “I carbonari” an old secret service club popular in Italy many years ago.
Regardless of its origin, this dish is very tasty. It is made with eggs and bacon which were supplied in abundance after the Second World War by the American troops stationed in Italy.
Nowadays, this dish is still very popular, especially near the Lazio region where it is believed to have originated. You can easily make this dish at home even though you should savor it in a typical restaurant near Rome where authentic ingredients such as “guanciale” a special cured meat made of a pork’s cheek is used. Here is a recipe:
SPAGHETTI/CAPELLINI ALLA CARBONARA
1 package Barilla spaghetti or capellini pasta
1 chunk guanciale or pancetta diced
12 cup white wine
Grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese
Boil water. Salt and cook spaghetti/capellini according to package. In the meanwhile, in a saucepan place a few drops of extra virgin olive oil and add the guanciale or pancetta until nice and crisp. Add the wine to prevent sticking and cook for another 5 minutes or until reduced. In a bowl, beat the four eggs as if making scrambled eggs. Salt and pepper.
Drain the pasta once “al dente” and mix in the eggs, bacon bits and a nice twist from the pepper mill. Serve with grated cheese and savor.
As you can see this is a very simple dish but yet it is very tasty.
If you are concerned about the safety of using raw eggs, the good thing is that the hot pasta will kill most bacteria. However, if you are still concerned, use pasteurized eggs like the ones you find in cartons, that are 100% safe to eat raw.
You do not need to go to Rome to taste a good carbonara. Yet, Rome houses the authentic ingredients needed for this recipe such as guanciale. However, abroad you can still make a good, tasty carbonara that very likely everybody will appreciate.