I often think about my favorite pasta dish. There is so much to choose from, but I have concluded that carbonara is it. I’d much rather eat a steaming plate of carbonara than any piece of meat or slice of cake. First, it has bacon or pancetta. Second, Parmesan Cheese. That alone could be my daily food intake. This dish encapsulates everything I love about Italian cuisine: simple and accessible ingredients. Nothing superfluous.
But I am a lucky girl. Francesco makes a sensational Carbonara. I don’t know what magic ingredient he adds (actually following a recipe???), but he nails it every time. I don’t talk about him often enough, but he is a great cook. He is an engineer, thus I love watching him cut vegetables, or in this case bacon, with painstakingly precision. It does take him 20 minutes to cut a carrot, but hey, the result is uniform and fabulous.
Here is what you need: (for 4 people)
1 cups of pancetta (or bacon)
500 grams of pasta, Spaghetti or Bucatini
1 cup of Parmeigiano Reggiano cheese
a hint of nutmeg
Salt and Pepper
Pancetta, or bacon, is the first ingredient that gets cooking. Cut, or mince – depending on taste, the pancetta and cook it for about 5 or 6 minutes, or until brown. Set aside.
Tip: Don’t oil the pan and don’t add any oil. The pancetta is fatty enough and will release its own juices.
Next, heat water for pasta in a medium-sized pot and bring it to a boil. In the meantime – there is never actual waiting time in the kitchen if you time everything right – we can get started on the creamy sauce.
In a small bowl, combine one egg, Parmigiano Reggiano, salt and pepper and whisk until the sun comes down.
Whisk until the cheese is amalgamated with the egg – it should almost look like a paste; a creamy, cheesy paste. Set the mixture aside.
Once the water boils, add salt and the spaghetti (angel hair pasta) or the bucatini (as seen below – I much prefer the bucatini for this recipe because each “strand” of pasta is thick and much more chewy than regular angel hair) and cook it until i is al dente – usually 7 to 8 minutes.
Always taste the pasta before draining – it may need more seasoning. It is also always a good idea to taste the water before adding the pasta. Salty water will make the pasta much more flavorful.
Drain the pasta using a colander and place it back into the pot. Add the pancetta and pour the cheesy egg mixture in the pot. The cheese will melt and the pasta will be coated with a layer of goodness. Serve while it’s hot.
Add more Parmigiano Reggiano or pepper to taste. This dish is so simple, but so incredibly delicious, I have to stop myself for making it every week. Buon Appetito!