Pasta alla Carbonara is one of the most famous – and also falsified – dishes of Italian cuisine all over the world. Each country has at least one version of this dish but there is no doubt: to eat the best Carbonara you have to go to Rome. This dish is delicious and very simple to prepare. It’s a classical of Italian traditional cuisine but the history of its origins is shrouded in mystery.
Spaghetti, guanciale (pork jowl), eggs, pepper and cheese: pasta alla Carbonara is one of the most popular Italian dishes all over the world. A very simple dish with a few ingredients of which, however, there are no traces in the recipes of the traditional cuisine of the Lazio region.
The origins of Carbonara are uncertain but there are several fascinating theories about the birth of this delicious dish. Let’s see which are the most plausible.
According to the first hypothesis, pasta alla Carbonara would have been invented by coalmen (carbonai in Italian) from Abruzzo. They used to prepare Carbonara using long-life and easely available ingredients. They used to spend a lot of time away from home, watching charcoal burners in the woods, so it was very important for them to bring some supplies.
There were always eggs and cheese in their sacks. They also used guanciale and its fat instead of olive oil that was too expensive for them.
The second hypotesis is the most intriguing: during World War II American soldiers of Allied Forces landed at Anzio, a few miles from Rome. They used to eat foods that were familiar to them such as spaghetti, bacon and eggs. In doing so, they would have given Italian chefs a clue during the military occupation of the city. Then, the latter revisited and improved the recipe.
Pasta alla Carbonara has become famous all over the world. Creative variations of this dish were born in every single country and some of them are very far from the original one. So, here’s the purist recipe for the best Carbonara.
Let’s start with the type of pasta: which one to choose? According to the original recipe you must use spaghetti or rigatoni. And, despite what everyone thinks, there is no bacon in Carbonara. You have to use guanciale (pork jowl), that is a more valuable salami made from the cheek of the pig.
Ingredients for 2:
- 200 grams of spaghetti
- 120 grams of guanciale
- 4 egg yolks
- 80 grams of Pecorino Romano cheese
- 20 grams of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- Freshly ground pepper
cut the guanciale into sticks and fry it up in the pan. Meanwhile pour the egg yolks into a plate and mix them with 60 grams of Pecorino and 20 grams of Parmigiano Reggiano, working everything to a creamy, smooth mixture. Once you get the cream, add two tablespoons of the fat lost from the pork jowl during cooking.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add salt and cook the spaghetti. Drain them while still al dente. Continue cooking spaghetti in the pork jowl pan after removing it all and placed it in a separate container.
Pour the cooking water on the spaghetti using a ladle until they are cooked. Once you obtain a creamy consistency you can turn off the heat and pour the cheese and eggs cream. Then, blend spaghetti and cream togheter and prepare dishes. Finally, add guanciale, the remaining Pecorino and an abundant sprinkling of pepper.
This way you will get a real, tasty and delicious Carbonara. You can cook it for lunch, especially when you have guests as friends or relatives in order to share moments of happiness. So you will be able to dream and, why not, imagine yourself seated at the table of a nice osteria in the centre of Rome, with the Ponentino wind caressing your hair while someone is singing a romantic Italian song somewhere in streets of the capital of Italy.
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