Famous throughout the world, pasta alla carbonara is certainly one of the most inflated dishes of the Italian gastronomic culture. It’s one of the best known Italian comfort food, enlisting a few simple ingredients in the original recipe. There is no oil, since it is replaced by the fat of the cured meat used, and there is no added salt or pepper since in the past cured meats were stored in a less industrial way than today, and therefore, precisely, in salt and with added pepper to flavor. To date, carbonara has been revisited and reinterpreted, both within Italian homes and by great chefs. But which is the official version? Let’s find out together.
Pasta alla Carbonara: history and variations
Pasta alla Carbonara is one of the most typical dishes of the most famous Italian gastronomic culture in the world. It is in fact, in all respects, considered as a true symbol of Italian cuisine. The history of the dish is ancient and rich in tradition. There is only one proper pasta alla Carbonara, but the variations that are prepared throughout Italy are many and there are still heated debates among the supporters of this or that variant. But which is the true carbonara? Further on we will discover together the basic recipe to prepare it at home.
Where and when was carbonara pasta born? Here is its story
Pasta alla Carbonara is a Lazio recipe par excellence, typical of Rome and the surrounding areas. There are many theories about its creation, but the main theory is that the basic recipe came from the charcoal producers of Lazio, who, having to watch the charcoal for a long time needed something quick and nutritious to prepare. The ingredients? Few and simple. The pepper and salt were already present because they were used to preserve the guanciale and pecorino. Guanciale, (jowl bacon) was used since it was cheap and very fat, and there was no need to add fresh oil, not used because of the high cost.
Carbonara: the recipe
Traditional carbonara is very easy to prepare. All you need are a few very basic ingredients, besides, the carbonara recipe is fast and suitable for last-minute lunches. Let’s take a look .
INGREDIENTS (FOR 4 PEOPLE)
- 350g of spaghetti
- 4 egg yolks
- 50g of pecorino romano
- 200g of Guanciale(jowl bacon)
- Salt and Pepper To Taste.
To prepare the Carbonara at home, start cooking the spaghetti in plenty of salted water, after having brought it to the boil and taken 1 minute off the cooking time indicated on the pack. While it’s cooking, sauté the diced bacon over a medium-high flame, after having removed the rind. Be careful not to burn it. Separately, in a bowl, beat the egg yolks by hand with one or two tablespoons of the cooking water of the pasta, and just over half of the pecorino. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and pour it into the pan with the bacon, letting it brown for about a minute. After that, turn off the heat and away from the heat add the egg and cheese mixture. Mix well, sauté everything and add pepper before serving, sprinkle with the remaining pecorino.
The variants of the carbonara
Among the main variations of pasta alla Carbonara we certainly find the following substitutions: guanciale with bacon, and pecorino with Parmigiano Reggiano or other traditional cheeses . Apparently, in fact, Carbonara is the most “falsified” recipe in the world. Many people like to add cream while cooking, for a more creamy result. Others add onion, not present in the original recipe, and others, especially in the reinterpretations prepared abroad, use lyophilized condiments with the aromas of eggs, bacon and pecorino cheese, non-existent in Italy and with a flavor that is anything but tasty.