Travelling Kitchen: Roman Carbonara

Disclaimer: This dish is not better with a little cream.

One of the first things recommended to us by our driver in Rome was the dish called Carbonara. You may know it as this creamy, decadent, not so healthy, bacon & cream pasta dish. What that is, I have no idea, but I do know it’s not a Carbonara. I’ve called this dish a Roman Carbonara because Rome is actually where this dish originated. I don’t know much more about it than that, oh, and the fact that it is freaking delicious & I could make myself sick with how much of this I could eat. Dee. Freaking. Licious! Understand?

I want you to make this. If there was any dish I wanted you to make, THIS is it. Please do it. I promise you it will be so simple it will blow your mind.

These are the three key ingredients. Bacon, romano & eggs. The traditional ingredients, for those who want to go looking for them are guanciale (preserved pig cheek) & pecorino (sheep) cheese. You don’t have to use these but you may need to add more salt.

This dish is also easily doulbled, but here goes.

2 egg yolks & one egg.

Then you add the cheese. Just mix it up a bit.

Oh, and add some pepper, that’s definitely another key ingredient.

Now that the ‘sauce’ is ready, we need to cook the guanciale or pancetta (try getting the thick cut stuff from the butcher, if you can’t find these, use bacon).

It’s already quite fatty, so you don’t need to add oil to the pan. Cook it until it’s all glossy and some pieces are starting to get a bit crispy.

All of the sauce & pork cooking can go on while the pasta is cooking, it doesn’t take that long. You’ll need to reserve about a cup of the pasta water before you drain it.

Once the pasta is drained, stir it into the bacon and oils until it’s mixed thoroughly. Then add the egg & cheese mix. Add a little of the pasta water if you need to loosen it up a bit. As long as you have no loose egg mix at the bottom of the pan, you’re good to serve. If there is a little bit of liquid, just put it over a low heat & stir constantly until it’s gone. Then serve.

Roman Carbonara

Serves 4

  • 3 egg yolks & 1 egg
  • 100g guanciale or pancetta, diced
  • 150g pecorino cheese, finely grated
  • salt and pepper
  • 300g spaghettini (thin spaghetti) also, I’m guessing the amount of a ‘normal’ packet
  1. Boil water for pasta & cook as per usual
  2. While the pasta is cooking mix the eggs, cheese and pepper
  3. Cook guanciale in a large frying pan until slightly crispy, turn the heat off when done
  4. Once the pasta is done, reserve 1 C of the pasta water before draining
  5. Toss the spaghettini in with the guanciale and oils
  6. Add the egg and cheese mix and toss thoroughly.
  7. If it gets gluggy and won’t mix well, add some of the pasta water a little at a time so you can coat all the pasta in the egg and cheese mix
  8. Serve with a little extra pepper

4 thoughts on “Travelling Kitchen: Roman Carbonara

  1. This. Looks. Amazing.

    I’ve always been a bit scared of carbonara (although I love it to bits!) because all the recipes come with such strict warnings about splitting the egg over the heat.
    This looks so easy! Going home to do it now!

    • It is so ridiculously easy (I’m glad I didn’t see such warnings!) and so, so … so so good. Definitely worth putting down as a staple!

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