Simple Carbonara

Recipe adapted from BonAppetit
Serves 3-4

♦ 3 tbsp kosher salt, plus more
♦ 4 oz guanciale, pancetta, or bacon, sliced in 1-in strips
♦ 2 oz Parmesan, grated
♦ 4 large egg yolks
♦ 2 large eggs
♦ Freshly ground black pepper
♦ 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
♦ 1 lb spaghetti, bucatini, or rigatoni

Heat 6 quarts of water in a large pot over high heat. When the water starts to steam, add the salt and cover pot with a lid (this will bring water to a boil faster).

Whisk the egg yolks and whole eggs in a medium bowl until no streaks remain, then stir in two-thirds of the grated cheese. Add several cranks of pepper and set aside.

Working next to this pot, heat 2 tbsp oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium heat. Add the guanciale (or pancetta/bacon) and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp around the edges, about 7–10 minutes.

Remove the pot from heat. Using a wooden spoon, fish out guanciale and transfer to a small bowl. Pour fat into a heatproof measuring cup, then add back roughly 3 tbsp to pot; discard the remaining fat.

Once the water comes to a boil, add the pasta, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes shy of package instructions. Just before pasta is finished, scoop out about 2 cups pasta cooking liquid with same heatproof measuring cup you used to pour out the fat. Drain the pasta in a colander.

Add 1 cup reserved pasta cooking liquid to Dutch oven and bring to a boil over medium- high, and add the pasta – cook, stirring constantly and vigorously, until al dente and water is reduced by about half, about 2 minutes. Remove pot from heat.

Whisk 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid into reserved egg mixture, then very slowly stream into Dutch oven, stirring constantly, until cheese is melted and egg is thickened to form a glossy sauce. Season with salt, if needed. Thin sauce with remaining pasta cooking liquid, adding a tablespoonful at a time, until it’s the consistency of heavy cream (you most likely won’t use all of it).

Mix in guanciale and divide pasta among bowls. Top with pepper and reserved cheese; serve immediately.

To read more about this dish and my musical pairing, click HERE