You can only eat pasta carbonara a couple times a year.
Any more than that and you’ll have to walk around with a defibrillator duct-taped to your chest. It’s a heart-stoppin’, artery-poppin’ dish that might kill ya.
It’s one of my favorites.
This is my own version. I added white wine, which gives it a little kick. But if you’re having it for breakfast—it is after all eggs and bacon—you might want to leave out the wine. You might…I don’t.
I use Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, most recipes call for Romano, which I find a little too salty for this. You got enough sodium in the pancetta to float a boat, so I use Parmigiano, which is a little sweeter.
The name comes from the Italian word for coal, carbona. Legend has it that coal miners would put a couple eggs, a piece of pancetta (Italian bacon) and a hunk of cheese in their pockets, and make this on their lunch break, all in one pot.
Putting eggs in your pocket doesn’t sound like a good idea to me, but what the hell do I know?
1 cup fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
Fresh cracked black pepper
8 ounces pancetta, diced into tiny pieces
4 cloves of garlic, peeled, and smashed/flattened with the broad side of a knife
¼ cup white wine
1 pound of spaghetti
We’ll do this all in real time. Here goes:
Get a large pot. Fill it with cold water. Put it on the highest heat you got. As it heats up…
Get a large bowl, one big enough to hold all the pasta and stuff.
Break three eggs into the bowl. Add the cheese. Add the chopped parsley. Add some fresh cracked black pepper. Hold off on the salt for now—the pancetta can be a bit salty, so you don’t really need any extra.
Beat all this stuff with a fork. Now let’s cook our pancetta.
Pancetta is Italian bacon. So treat it like bacon. Don’t be flippin’ it all around. You want it to brown on each side. So let it brown!
Get a small fry pan. Put it over medium heat. Put the diced pancetta in. Let it brown for about 3 to 5 minutes.
Flip it over, give it a stir, let it brown on the other side, 3 to 5 minutes.
When the pancetta is done, use a slotted spoon get it out of the pan. Put it in the bowl with the eggs and stuff. Give it a stir.
You should have some pancetta drippings in the bottom of the pan. Get rid of most of the drippings. You want to leave a little in the bottom of the pan, just enough to fry the garlic.
Put the pan on medium-low heat.
Add the garlic, cook for a couple minutes on each side until golden.
Turn up the heat to high. Add the wine; let it cook off for a minute or so. Turn off the heat.
Back to the pasta…when the pasta water comes to a boil, add a couple tablespoons of kosher salt. Add the pasta.
When the pasta is al dente, drain it well.
IMMEDIATELY toss the pasta into the bowl with the eggs. Add the pancetta and garlic, straight from the pan. Toss gently for a minute or two. You want the heat from the pasta and the pancetta to cook the eggs.
When it all looks right, plate it up. Garnish with a piece of parsley, and…