RECIPE

Carbonara

“This is a favorite late-night dinner for my husband and me. John’s favorite meal is carbonara; he always asks for it on his birthday. We also make it when he plays with his rock band. John doesn’t like to eat dinner before a show, so this has become our favorite midnight supper after a gig. It’s really like an early breakfast, with pasta rather than potatoes or bread. It is, after all, bacon and eggs. The only trick to carbonara is tempering the egg yolks to ensure you do not end up with scrambled eggs. For the brightest color, I use Araucana eggs, which are widely available at Whole Foods and farmers’ markets. The eggs have a greenish-blue tint to the shell and the hens that lay them are often fed marigolds, which make the egg yolks intensely bright yellow-orange.


Many recipes for carbonara include cream, but I never add cream. The creamy quality of the sauce should come from the tempered eggs emulsifying with the cheeses and pasta.” –RR

Ingredients

  • About 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 pound pancetta or guanciale, small dice
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound pasta, such as linguine, spaghetti or egg tagliatelle
  • Grated Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
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Preparation

Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.


Heat the olive oil, three turns of the pan, in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta or guanciale, brown for 3-4 minutes, then add the garlic and some black pepper and stir for 2 minutes more.


Add the wine and reduce the heat to low. Whisk up the egg yolks and season with salt and pepper.


Add the pasta to salted boiling water and cook to al dente.


Add 1 full cup of starchy cooking water to the egg yolks in a slow stream to temper them. Reserve an extra 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water in case the pasta gets too tight when you toss it. Drain the pasta and add to the pancetta and garlic; remove from the heat and toss with the egg yolks and handfuls of the grated cheeses and parsley. Adjust the salt and pepper, to taste.

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