Spaghetti alla Carbonara
This is more or less of a followup to a previous post. I walked you through how I used some fettuccine di farro that I bought at the Troy Farmers Market in a style similar to carbonara, or what I like to call “Bacon, egg, and cheese pasta.” I got a little flack from the foodies for not using guanciale and using fettucine instead of spaghetti, as the classic “Spaghetti alla Carbonara” prescribes.
So to give the closest thing to righting the wrongs, and, more importantly, to illustrate the ease of preparation and robustness (ability to achieve an acceptable version with minor variations) of the recipe, here’s a quick walkthrough with some changes.
Lay out your ingredients: guanciale (face bacon), eggs, romano cheese, black pepper, and whole wheat spaghetti (hey, I’ll take the fiber where I can get it. And don’t judge the Great Value pasta; it’s the best tasting whole grain pasta I’ve come across and doesn’t have a whole bunch of junk in it.).
Put a large pot of water with a copious amount of salt on to boil. Dice up a bit of guanciale. I don’t know how much; whatever you want. Render the diced bits in a frying pan. Crack your eggs into a bowl with lots of cracked black pepper. Grate up about 2/3 cup of pecorino Romano cheese. Lay out your serving of pasta (20-25% of a box)
Boil your pasta.
You’ll have about 8 minutes to do the rest.
Remove the crispy, diced bits of guanciale from the frying pan and discard some (not all) of the oil. Mix the cheese into the eggs and pepper.
When the pasta is done boiling, transfer it directly to the frying pan on medium heat with some tongs. Let some of the pasta water come with it. Toss for 30 seconds. Add the crispy guanciale bits and toss. Add the egg, cheese, and pepper mixture and turn the heat under the frying pan off. Mix well. If it starts to tighten up, add some more pasta water (you shouldn’t have drained it down the sink; I told you to use tongs).
You just cooked a delicious pasta dish in 12 minutes.
But the key here is that if you don’t want to hunt down a fairly special piece of pork, I’m not going to hit you over the head. It’s perfectly acceptable to use bacon or pancetta if that’s what you have around. And it’s ok to use a different cut of pasta. It’s really the method that you’re going for here, and, while the classic form is the classic form for a reason, it shouldn’t deter you from trying something. Hey, maybe you do try it your way and that makes you eager to seek out everything you need to try the classic recipe. If it gets you cooking and thinking, you’re doing something good for yourself.