It’s pretty obvious how I like pasta very much, and it’s amongst the dozens of reasons why I was eager to visit Italy. The kind of pasta I enjoyed much as a kid, however, is not the same as the Italian’s.
Pinoy pasta is quite different.
Our version of spaghetti bolognese has the usual ingredients, yet we add some extras like hot dogs, sugar and banana ketchup that all in all, give a bit of sweet taste. My favorite carbonara has a creamy white sauce topped with ham and bacon; a balanced mix of all-purpose cream, cream of mushroom soup and evaporated milk defines it.
Now here I get a very meaty spaghetti bolognese, sans the sweetness and the ‘tender juicy hotdogs.’ And the carbonara? Well, it’s still as creamy as the one I would have back home. Until my trip to Rome, I came across the real carbonara for the first time. Less creamy, but boy oh boy, it was divine!
Since then I never look at my carbonara the same way again. What is more, I even picked this carbonara recipe that I felt the closest version with the one I had in Rome.
Bacon, eggs, and pasta.
Basically, that’s all you ever need for a real carbonara. It seems too easy, right? Not really.
I tried this recipe a couple of times and on a few occasions, I flunked, hence I ended up with scrambled eggs on my pasta. It takes a certain technique, along with really good ingredients (no matter how simple it looks like), to come up with a perfectly authentic carbonara. A quick reminder – read the recipe carefully and follow it well.
A bit of history about carbonara, this classic Italian dish originally comes from the Apennine hills nearby Rome. It’s a shepherd’s favorite in the old times. They’d bring bacon, pasta, cheese, and eggs (if they’re lucky enough to have some) as they meander in the pasture with their flocks.
Now, it’s a classic Italian pasta that everyone in the world loves. Count me in as another fan from the Philippines!
- 1 pound dry spaghetti
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces pancetta or slab bacon, cubed or sliced into small strips
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- Prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking to ensure that the spaghetti will be hot and ready when the sauce is finished; it is very important that the pasta is hot when adding the egg mixture, so that the heat of the pasta cooks the raw eggs in the sauce.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender yet firm. Drain the pasta well, reserving 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water to use in the sauce if you wish.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium flame. Add the pancetta and saute for about 3 minutes, until the bacon is crisp and the fat is rendered. Toss the garlic into the fat and saute for less than 1 minute to soften.
- Add the hot, drained spaghetti to the pan and toss for 2 minutes to coat the strands in the bacon fat. Beat the eggs and Parmesan together in a mixing bowl, stirring well to prevent lumps. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the egg/cheese mixture into the pasta, whisking quickly until the eggs thicken, but do not scramble (this is done off the heat to ensure this does not happen.) Thin out the sauce with a bit of the reserved pasta water, until it reaches desired consistency. Season the carbonara with several turns of freshly ground black pepper and taste for salt. Mound the spaghetti carbonara into warm serving bowls and garnish with chopped parsley. Pass more cheese around the table.
WHAT’S YOUR STORY?
Is pasta also your favorite? What’s your favorite pasta dish? Share a recipe or two!