Pasta, eggs, cheese, and pancetta come together in this classic Italian favourite, which has all the marks of comfort cooking: creaminess, a handful of simple but highly satisfying ingredients, a combination of flavours so rich and luscious it’ll make your eyes roll back in your head with pleasure. While it’s preparation is really easy, there is a technique that binds all the magic together, which you’ll find below. It’s an Italian secret, and it works all the time!
- 100g pancetta, cubed
- 50g freshly grated pecorino cheese or hard sheep cheese
- 50g freshly grated parmesan
- 3 large eggs
- 350g spaghetti
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Sea salt
- Bring about 6 quarts of generously salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. When the pasta is done, reserve 1/2 cup of the water, then drain.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and sauté for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until the meat is crispy and golden and has rendered its fat. Turn off the heat.
- In a small bowl whisk the eggs and the cheeses until well-combined.
- Return the pancetta to the pan at medium heat, and add half of the reserved pasta water to the pan (this is the trick! Pasta water is key to a good carbonara). Toss in the spaghetti and agitate the pan over the heat for a few seconds.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the egg mixture. Stir quickly until the eggs thicken, and lift up the spaghetti with a fork or tongs to make sure it’s well coated. If the sauce seems too thick, thin it out with a little bit more of the reserved pasta water.
- Season with freshly cracked black pepper and a dash of salt.
- Divide the pasta into bowls, shave some parmesan on top and serve immediately.