Monday, April 26, 2010

Pasta alla Carbonara

Pasta alla Carbonara

Today's recipe is about a "legendary" dish which is extremely easy to prepare but most of the time isn't cooked as it should be. Read on to discover the little tricks needed to have the "real thing" on your table.

Many legends and histories are told about how this recipe was born. Some people says it was invented after the WWII when American soldiers brought to the occupied Rome bacon and powdered eggs ingredients. Whatever the origin was, the recipe wasn't recorded before WWII so probably there's some truth behind it.

Ingredients (serves 4)
1 lb. spaghetti pasta
5 oz. guanciale (hog jowl that is the lard coming from the cheek of the pig)
4 eggs
5 oz. grated pecorino cheese
a teaspoon of pork fat
pepper (a lot of it!)
salt

Preparation
Put a tablespoon of pork fat in a pan over very low heat and let melt. When hot add diced guanciale and let it cook slowly until the fat becomes almost transparent and crisp. When ready put aside keeping hot. The pork fat is needed so to avoid to burn too much the guanciale at start but if you have a very good pan you can try to cook it with its own fat. Whisk in a bowl two whole eggs and two yolks, add the grated pecorino and the pepper continuing to whisk until creamy.
Cook the pasta in abundant salted water and drain when "al dente". Pasta need to be still pretty moist, add a couple of tablespoon of cooking water if needed, then blend in the bowl with the egg mixture so to coat the pasta with it. Add the guanciale and serve.

(Alessandro Guerani is a professional photographer specialized in food shooting. He lives in Bologna, Italy, and is available for assignments to create the images you always craved. Read the "About me" or contact him using the "Mail me" in the blog menu above.)

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19 commenti :

Valen said...

I was just thinking about making pasta carbonara today! I have never had it, but I'm sure I would love it!

Alisa said...

This is my fave dish when I want a quick meal. I like your recipe and will give this a try soon.I also enjoyed reading your post and admiring your lovely photos.I'm looking forward to reading more from you.

zebulon said...

Quite different from the way it is prepared here, in my house: panna (crème fraîche) to coat the spaghetti, little rectangles of lard (lardons), lemon juice, some grated parmigiano and an egg yolk on top.

Even if I'll never drop this recipe, I'm curious to try the real thing, so thanks for making it the subject of today's post :)

M. said...

I'm making something similar for dinner tonight....
what a lovely photo.

Memória said...

This is the best photo of this dish I've ever seen. Wow. it is just "jaw-droppingly" beautiful! I love how authentic this recipe is. I'm bookmarking this recipe.

Grazie mille.

Heidi Leon Monges said...

beautiful, thanks for sharing with us la vera receta!.

Lori Lynn said...

I love how the pasta is curled in the bowl. Great post on the recipe too!
LL

Jeannie Miller said...

Help! I live in Boise Idaho. Finding 4 Italians who know how to cook would be hard enough but finding pork cheek fat GUANCIALE? No way. what is a good substitute?

Nova Walsh: said...

Wow. That is seriously gorgeous pasta! Great picture!

Linn @ Swedish Home Cooking said...

Beautiful! You're giving me a pasta craving. Mm.

Chandani said...

That is so perfect. Simple and amazing. I can go on and on with the praise. The picture makes me want to run to the kitchen and start making it if only i wasn't at work.

Kelly said...

It's always amusing to hear the stories of how things may or may not have come to be. I made pasta alla carbonara recently and remembered how much I love it.

Alessandro Guerani said...

Wow, it was a bit unexpected to have a so great feedback for such an old and simple recipe. But Carbonara is a great main course and don't you worry, despite being simple many italians don't know how to properly prepare it too.

Ok, let's go to some answers and suggestions.
It's very hard to find a good substitute for hog jowl, I experienced many times bacon but it's quite different, a lot more "meaty" and less fat. Anyway a slice of very very (and I mean very) fat bacon could be similar. Otherway find a butcher and ask him to cut the "real" thing for you. I made the same to get a cut of beef needed for cornbeef. Usually there isn't any similar in Italy.

Dinners and Dreams said...

What a beautiful dish of pasta. It looks fantastic!

Nisrine

Rosemary said...

May be simple, but it's never failed to delight anyone I've made it for (even with bacon.) THanks for the tips on substitutions.

Brie: Le Grand Fromage said...

that has to be the most beautiful photo of pasta ever - and i have seen a lot of pasta! thanks for providing such a classic recipe as well.

Lisa said...

This truly looks and sounds amazing...

diego said...

I must say the photo looks simple but amazing. The way the noodles are styled is perfect, and I love your lighting and composition. It would be great if you could share some more of your technical details of this photograph as well, I ran across your series of food photography lighting and I'd love to see it continue.

Jessica said...

This looks amazing! I've had it in a restaurant before, but never been brave enough to try making it at home. Thanks for the helpful post.

jessyburke88@gmail.com

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