- 100g pancetta
Pancetta is Italian cured pork belly - the equivalent of streaky bacon. It has a deep, strong,…
- 50g pecorino cheese
- 50g parmesan
Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…
- 3 large eggs
- 350g spaghetti (De Cecco is very good)
- 2 plump garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
- 50g unsalted butter
- Maldon salt and freshly grated black pepper
Put a large saucepan of water on to boil. Finely chop the pancetta, having first removed any rind. Finely grate both cheeses and mix them together. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl and season with a little freshly grated black pepper. Set everything aside.
Add 1 tsp salt to the boiling water, add the spaghetti and when the water comes back to the boil, cook at a constant simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or until al dente (just cooked).
Squash the garlic with the blade of a knife, just to bruise it. While the spaghetti is cooking, fry the pancetta with the garlic. Drop the butter into a large frying pan or wok and, as soon as the butter has melted, tip in the pancetta and garlic. Leave to cook on a medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the pancetta is golden and crisp. The garlic has now imparted its flavour, so take it out with a slotted spoon and discard.
Keep the heat under the pancetta on low. When the pasta is ready, lift it from the water with a pasta fork or tongs and put it in the frying pan with the pancetta. Don’t worry if a little water drops in the pan as well (you want this to happen) and don’t throw the pasta water away yet.
Mix most of the cheese in with the eggs, keeping a small handful back for sprinkling over later. Take the pan of spaghetti and pancetta off the heat. Now quickly pour in the eggs and cheese. Using the tongs or a long fork, lift up the spaghetti so it mixes easily with the egg mixture, which thickens but doesn’t scramble, and everything is coated. Add extra pasta cooking water to keep it saucy (several tablespoons should do it). You don’t want it wet, just moist. Season with a little salt, if needed.
Use a long-pronged fork to twist the pasta on to the serving plate or bowl. Serve immediately with a little sprinkling of the remaining cheese and a grating of black pepper. If the dish does get a little dry before serving, splash in some more hot pasta water and the glossy sauciness will be revived.
Gennaro Contaldo’s magic ingredient…“Pasta water,” Angela explains, after Gennaro showed her how he makes his version. “Dripped in as he transferred the spaghetti to the hot frying pan. Everything mingled to make a light, silky smooth sauce.”
Do it like an ItalianGennaro Contaldo told Angela he feels that carbonara in the UK has lost its identity: “I see it made with onion, bacon, a lot of cream, even béchamel sauce.” Avoid the temptation to use these and create a rich creaminess with pancetta and butter instead.
Like this?Add some veg and make Courgette carbonara.