Spaghetti alla Carbonara
Spaghetti with Carbonara Sauce
For four people:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon or so of rosemary (optional)
In honor of the 100th Giro d’Italia route in May 2009 which will end in Rome instead of Milan, we’re providing a traditional Roman dish which has become famous internationally for its simple ingredients.
The origins of this recipe are unknown, although most tales agree that the recipe we use today became popular after World War II when eggs and bacon were more easily accessible. They were accesible at that time since they were popular ingredients with the "foreigners" (i.e. the American and Canadian troops). Other possible origins of the name "carbonara," which means "charcoaled," come from legends of coal-miners (“carbonari”) eating/creating a similar dish. Or, the name “alla carbonara” might refer to the black dusting of freshly ground pepper that should be generously sprinkled on top of the pasta, or to the appearance of the diced meat which is pan fried until very dark.
While spaghetti, or any of its thicker cousins, are used throughout most of Italy, the Romans tend to use “rigatoni”, a large type of macaroni.
The important things to keep in mind for an excellent carbonara sauce are:
Place a pot of water on to boil for the pasta.
Sauté the entire clove of garlic in the olive oil and then add the diced meat. When the meat is cooked (crispy and brown), remove the meat from heat.
While the meat cooks, mix the eggs and the parmesan cheese in a bowl. You should have a creamy mixture that is not very liquid.
When the water boils, add about 2 tablespoons of salt and the pasta until the pasta is cooked. When it is ready, drain the pasta and quickly pour pasta (with a very little bit of its water) and the creamy egg mixture into a heated bowl and stir. The egg will cook upon contact with the pasta and should coat the spaghetti or rigatoni nicely.
Add the meat (without the garlic clove) and stir, grind some fresh pepper on the pasta and serve with extra parmesan or pecorino cheese to taste.
-for more people, use the proportion of 1 egg to ¾ cups of cheese