When it comes to pasta, there is no question that my mom’s favorite dish is Spaghetti Carbonara. With our Italian heritage, this isn’t too much of a shocker, but when you she can choose between any dish (ANY dish), she will always go for the Carbonara.
All of us are now SO concerned with carbohydrates, that we forget the wonders of pasta. Fresh pasta is an absolute marvel to behold. BUT…everything in moderation, right? You don’t want to eat 10 plates of it drenched in far too much sauce. The simplicity of the flavors should compliment each other….not mask one another.
But back to basics, when Mother’s Day rolled around, I had a big family feast and the centerpiece was this absolutely authentic Spaghetti Carbonara recipe. So without further ado, let’s just get cooking.
This recipe feed 4 people with good portions or can be used for 8 as a side dish. Here’s what you need from the store:
*1/2 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
*1/2 Cup Freshly Grated Romano Cheese
*12-15 Ounces of Good Quality Spaghetti (if you make it yourself…even better, just don’t buy it at the closeout store)
*1-2 Garlic Cloves (depending on the intensity you like….I put in three sometimes as Mom loves garlic)
*1 Cup of Pancetta
*3 Tablespoons of UNSALTED Butter (I don’t even think I use salted butter, ends up making everything far to salty)
*Freshly Ground Salt and Pepper for Tasting
Now we can get cooking. First grab your favorite spaghetti pot, fill it with water (a dash of extra virgin olive oil and salt doesn’t hurt either) and bring it to the boil. While you are doing this, get a good sized pan and begin to melt the butter. Clean the garlic and smash it, trying to keep it is good sized pieces. The reason? You will be removed it after it has flavored the meat. Toss the garlic into the butter, dice the pancetta (or cut with kitchen scissors like I do) and toss into the pan. Keep stirring and moving it all about until the butter begins to turn a golden brown. If you need to add more butter, please do, but the fat from the meat should do the trick. Once browned and the meat is cooked through, remove from heat and discard the garlic (or leave to make garlic bread later).
Now your pot is boiling so toss the pasta in and follow the instructions on the box. My tip is to do it 1-2 minutes less than the box so that it is al dente. There is nothing worse than soggy pasta and remember once you take it off the boil it will continue to cook.
Once the pasta is fully cooked (which you will know by tasting…NOT the timer), put into a strainer to drain. DO NOT RUN WATER ON THE PASTA. Rinsing the pasta is one of the worst ideas ever. While it can cool it quickly for small children, it makes the pasta slick and the sauce won’t stick to it. Sticky pasta is your friend (repeat).
After drained, add the pasta back to the pot, beat the three eggs and dump into pasta mixture. The toss. After that is mixed thoroughly add the pancetta and butter and toss. Finally add the cheese and toss again. You need to work quickly with the cheese, so you could add a little at a time. What will happen if you add it all and don’t work quick is you will end up with clumping….which is not so hot. When everything is blended, add salt and pepper to suit your tastes (I generally add lots of black pepper, it’s a Mom pasta fave). Presto! Spaghetti Carbonara!
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