Spaghetti carbonara, easily one of my favorite top three dishes of all time. Once you get the hang of it, it is super fast and easy to make, extremely comforting, and always amazingly delicious. My take on this classic Italian beauty is considered a bit cheating, but this is an affordable and very accessible take on the one and only – Carbonara. Jump to recipe.
Traditionally, carbonara is made with pasta, pecorino cheese, black pepper, eggs, and guanciale (pig cheek), but since we are not in Italy, and I’m on a budget, I use bacon, which is very affordable and accessible in Germany. I found that the best supermarket bacon for the task is the one you can find in Edeka. The consistency is better than others I tried. Another tip, since pre-cut bacon tends to be thin and therefore harder to cut into nice even pieces, is to freeze it for 15 minutes before cutting. But Edeka’s bacon is cut into thicker slices, this is why it is better, in my opinion. As I mentioned, originally this dish is made with guanciale, so if you find that or pancetta, you can definitely replace the bacon with them.
I think this take on carbonara is the dish I have made the most in the past three years since the first time. It took a few tries to understand the technique and inherent it into my muscle memory, but since then, it became like second nature to me. My hands remember. They know. I make carbonara very often and yet it never ceases to amaze me. It is so incredible, heart-warming, comforting, simple yet delicious, every single time.
The important part is to pour the egg mixture onto the pan after the pasta stops to hiss. Then it is a safe temperature to add the egg without scrambling it. Another important thing to do in this step, it stirring like your life depends on it. If you see the texture is not creamy and glossy enough, add a bit more pasta water and stir well again, until just right.
The grating size of the cheese also affects the emulsion texture, the thinner it is grated, the better the emulsification will turn out. To get the most of the bacon fat, add the pieces of the bacon to the pan when it’s heating to medium-high heat. The slow heating renders the fat better without burning it or evaporate the fat from the pan. All of these steps are important to create the perfect carbonara consistency. And now, we cook!
– 250 gr spaghetti
– 100 gr bacon
– 50 gr pecorino
– 3 eggs
– Ground black pepper
Boil a pot of water, when boiled, add a tablespoon of salt and the spaghetti. Cut the bacon lengthwise and then crosswise, to create small squares. Grate the cheese thinly, best use a Microplane for this (Amazon affiliate link). Add the eggs and black pepper and whisk together. Set aside. The amounts of black pepper to use depend on personal preference.
Turn on a stovetop to high heat with a large skillet. Add the bacon to the heating pan (when it is still cold, the heating pan renders the fat better). If the bacon pieces start to burn or the fat is drying, decrease the heat a bit. Add some ground black pepper to the pan.
When the pasta is al-dente, take the bacon pan off the heat (move it over to a cold stovetop), transfer the pasta onto the skillet, and stir. When the hissing noises stop (the ‘Tsss’), it is safe to add the egg mixture, followed by a vigorous stir, with a little bit of the reserved pasta water. Stir well with tongs or two wooden spoons until the consistency is creamy and the sauce is coating all the pasta. Heat a serving bowl over the hot pasta water (let the steam heat it), and serve with grated pecorino and ground pepper on top. Cry and scream of excitement and eat happily.
Me, right before eating a hearty bowl of carbonara:
Here’s a video of the recipe with the amounts for one serving, all of the above would make so much sense after watching the video.
If you make this beautiful bowl of pasta, please tag me!
I‘d love to see and re-share it!