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Recipe on how to make the perfect pasta carbonara

Three months in Italy go a long way, and although it's all ice cream, pizza and pasta... It’s amazing ice cream! Incredible pizza! And fantastic pasta! I haven't ever tasted the same thing twice. And as I fancy myself as quite the little chef, I was dying to find out all the secrets from Italian recipes. Basically, in this post, I'm going to give you some tips and tricks that you can use to make the perfect carbonara.



Why pasta carbonara?

Well, I don't know whether you've noticed but Spaniards like to change things up a little bit and adapt our culture to anything that crosses paths with it. Spanish pasta carbonara has cream, onion, and sometimes even mushrooms. However, I'll warn you now that if you say that you put cream in your carbonara to an Italian, the best thing to happen to you would be that they'd kick you straight out the door. And the worst? You don't even want to imagine.

When I arrived here, there was something about this Italian pasta carbonara that was so different to the millions of times I've tried to make it at home. But I never once imagined that it was so simple and easy, and delicious at the same time.

I have chosen pasta carbonara because it's almost a universal guide to Italy, which, however, has been misinterpreted. And it honestly really annoys me that when you leave Italian soil, the carbonara loses a lot of its original taste.

First hand recipe

During my summer in Italy, I was lucky enough that my friends from all over the world came to see me and we did a road trip through the country. And I was even luckier that one of these friends was of Italian blood, and they was explaining everything about Italy and clearing up all the doubts about what is Italian and what only exists for tourism.

On one of our stops through our tour of Italy, he wanted to take us to his "mamma"'s house and show us first hand how to make true homemade Italian food. And I'm even more curious than usual as I couldn't speak Italian, asked him if he could ask his mum if she could teach us how to make the famous pasta carbonara. So, as you now know, this recipe comes straight from the hands of an authentic Italian mamma!

Without further ado, let's begin!



Obviously, the most important ingredient of all is the pasta. But there are thousands of different types of pasta, and choosing the right pasta is key. In this case, carbonara sauce always goes with spaghetti. Yep, the same normal spaghetti we've used all our lives. Fresh pasta is always ideal, but that is really difficult and takes a lot of time and effort. Because of this, Italians prefer some brands of non-fresh pasta over others. Some will tell you that the brand Barilla is quite good, but the par excellence brand is Garofallo. If you compare one type of spaghetti with another, you will see that the surface of the Garofallo is a lot more coarse, and therefore the sauce will stick to the pasta a lot more easily (and this way you won't have all your sauce at the bottom of your plate).



The "bacon"

In Spain, unfortunately, finding this specific ingredient will be difficult, so bacon will do in this case. In Italy, they use what they call "guanciale" (which is pronounced "gwanchialay" if you want to go there one day, or you're interested in buying it). It's a special part of a pig, the cheeks or jaw, and it's very similar to our bacon or pancetta. But, it has a very specific taste.


We also need some eggs, but the number depends on how much pasta. Basically, we only need the yolks, so later on you can make a french omelette with the whites if you fancy. You can also keep the whites in the fridge for a few days, in a container covered with cling film.


But not just any old cheese, it has to be parmesan, and whether it's "reggiano" or "gran padano", that depends on your tastes. They call it "parmiggiano" because it comes specifically from the region in the north of Italy, Parma.




And that's it! You don't need anything else. Well, apart from oil, salt and water, obviously. Now let's move onto the steps of what you have to do to make this delicious pasta.


Before you do anything, you need to boil the pasta. So grab a big enough pan to put all the spaghetti into the water (DO NOT BREAK OR BEND THEM) and fill it with water. Add a little bit of salt and add the pasta when it's boiled. The time entirely depends on each type of pasta and its brand, but the instructions will always be on the packet. However, don't forget to check the pasta, so it doesn't end up too soft or to hard. It has to be 'al dente'. The normal amount of pasta tends to be 100g per person, but this depends on how hungry you are!



Now separately, put a good amount of oil in a frying pan (and when I say good, I mean good, be generous with the oil as that's what carries the specific flavour) and then fry the bacon in it.

And in a separate bowl, you have to separate the whites from the yolks. There are various techniques to do this. The most common and simple is to open the egg in two, and drop the yolk from one half of the shell to the other above a bowl so the whites fall out, and then put the yolk in another bowl. Also, instead of using the shell you can open the egg into your hands and do it in your hands themselves. In terms of how many eggs to use, I would say it should be one egg per person.



Once everything is separated, break the yolks and mix them with the parmesan and a little bit of pepper. The quantity of parmesan should be done by eye because it depends on the amount of eggs and the size of them. But, I can say that it shouldn't be a very thick sauce. It has to be quite liquidated.

The pasta will probably be done at this point. Don't pour the leftover pasta water away! You'll know if it's a good quality pasta because it usually leave the water a little bit cloudy. Put all the pasta into a big bowl. You have to do this quickly because not doing it over an open heat means that it cools very fast. To continue, in the big bowl, put the mixture of yolk and parmesan, and move it all together a little bit. If you see that the sauce has become quite thick, then use a bit of the pasta water to break it down. And finally, you only need to add the bacon and ecco! The perfect pasta carbonara.

Now you're ready to impress all your dinner guests with your delicious recipe. And, as you've seen, it's a super quick and easy one too. I hope that this has served you well, and enjoy! Or, as the Italians say, buono appetito!

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Comments (1 comments)

  • Robert John one month ago

    This pasta recipe is love. I will go and ask my mum to make me exactly the article says.

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