Real Deal Roman Pasta Carbonara (Guanciale and Pecorino Romano)

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dls1

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Jun 6, 2012
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Great looking dish, IS, and a nice presentation, as well. The dish, one of the four pillars of Roman cuisine, is one I've made for many years using the traditional method in a manner similar to yours. With just four primary ingredients (pasta, fatty cured pork, cheese, eggs), and the proper technique, the final result is one that truly exemplifies the saying "The whole is greater than the sum of it's parts".

For the pasta, spaghetti is commonly used, but rigatoni and bucatini (my preference) are often used, as well.

For the pork, as far as I'm concerned, it's guanciale or nothing. Pancetta is often used, but it's a weak substitute when compared to guanciale. When it comes to using bacon, that, to me, is a non-starter.

For the cheese, a well aged Pecorino Romano, freshly grated, is preferred. A similar quality Parmigiano Reggiano is an adequate substitute, but it's a bit of a let down from the Pecorino.

When it comes to the eggs, in years past, the standard ratio was to use 2 eggs for each person being served. In more recent times, because of concerns regarding the excess consumption of eggs and elevated cholesterol/heart disease, the ratio has been halved by many cooks. Also, there's always been a debate regarding the use of whole eggs, egg yolks alone, or a combination of the two. Because I'm something of a purist when it comes to Italian cuisine, I stick to the standard ratio. Also, based on a tip given to me by a chef in Rome a long time ago, I go primarily with yolks. For example, when serving four, and using one pound of pasta, I use seven large egg yolks plus one whole large egg. That produces a creamy and rich flavor that's over the top.

Buon Appetito!

 

bill1

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Apr 25, 2015
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Looks great! I could see that going well with an over-easy egg.
 

indaswamp

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dls1 dls1
I use both egg whites and the yolks but add them at different times. This is an old world dish and I can't see them throwing out good protein in the whites. Making the emulsion with the whites, fat, and a little pasta water is the method I learned from a Roman Chef. Though it is a hotly debated topic in Rome as to whether it is whole eggs or just yolks. Most restaurants in America add cream to the dish in order to keep the sauce creamy for longer...but that is NOT how Carbonara is made. It is a dish that must be cooked to order and served immediately. Can't tell you how many times I've been let down when ordering Carbonara at a restaurant. So many in fact that I just don't order it anymore...prefer to just cook it myself.

how much pecorino Romano per pound of pasta do you use?
 
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dls1

Smoking Fanatic
Jun 6, 2012
885
189
Depends On The Day
dls1 dls1
I use both egg whites and the yolks but add them at different times. This is an old world dish and I can't see them throwing out good protein in the whites. Making the emulsion with the whites, fat, and a little pasta water is the method I learned from a Roman Chef. Though it is a hotly debated topic in Rome as to whether it is whole eggs or just yolks. Most restaurants in America add cream to the dish in order to keep the sauce creamy for longer...but that is NOT how Carbonara is made. It is a dish that must be cooked to order and served immediately. Can't tell you how many times I've been let down when ordering Carbonara at a restaurant. So many in fact that I just don't order it anymore...prefer to just cook it myself.

how much pecorino Romano per pound of pasta do you use?
For 1 pound of pasta, I use ½ cup of freshly grated Pecorino, plus more for garnish. I add it towards the end of the cooking process, and add the cheese in 3 batches, allowing each batch to melt, before adding the next.

I understand what you say about carbonara in America or, for that matter, most Italian food in America. I admit to being a bit jaded since, at an earlier point in my career I lived in Italy for 3 years - 1 year in Rome, and 2 years in Milan. Beyond that, I've traveled to Italy many times since both for business and pleasure with good/great dining so, from my perspective, I won't even bother going to most so-called "Italian" restaurants in America which only offer dumbed-down or bastardized Italian-American dishes.


 
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