Spaghetti Carbonara is easy to make, but the ingredients and technique are precise and should be followed carefully. Guanciale is salt-cured pork jowl or cheek. Its name is derived from guancia, which is Italian for “cheek” and is traditionally cured with salt and spices, while pancetta is pork belly that is cured with salt and pepper. They are close enough in nature to interchange because they are both cured in a smoke-free environment, unlike American bacon, which is brined and smoked.
|WHAT YOU NEED||WHAT TO DO||WHY|
||Pasta: In a covered 5-quart tri-ply stockpot, bring water to a rolling boil (10-12 minutes) over high heat. Add pasta and salt and give a big stir with a fork to separate the strands. When boiling resumes, reduce heat to hold at a low rolling boil until pasta is al dente (as per package). Meanwhile…||Starting now syncs it with the completion of the recipe. Turbulent water helps prevent gummy pasta. Adding salt after water is hot reduces metal pitting.|
||Sauce: In a 3-quart bowl, whisk all together; set aside.||Pecorino Romano is most faithful to tradition, but Parmigiano-Reggiano can also be used. Whisking the cheese with the eggs now helps protect the eggs against curdling in the final step.|
||In a 12-inch ceramic nonstick over medium-low heat, render the guanciale fat (~9 minutes). Remove from heat. Measure out 2 tablespoons hot pasta water; add to pan and swirl. Promptly drain spaghetti thoroughly in a mesh strainer, giving vigorous shakes; add to the guanciale. With big tongs, toss to coat the pasta in fat (~15 seconds).||Adding a little hot pasta water helps moderate pan heat, reducing the risk of curdling the eggs.
|Pour in the egg mixture while continuing to toss the pasta until every strand is coated and glistening (~30 seconds). Serve promptly in big, beautiful pasta bowls!||Keeping the pasta and egg mixture moving helps prevent hot spots, reducing the risk of curdling the eggs.|
Enjoy your Spaghetti Carbonara!
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