This is one of my favorite pastas! I have been preparing it for soooo long, I think I can make it with my eyes closed by now. Linguine alla Carbonara is easy to prepare but must be eaten immediately! Make sure you have all the side dishes ready and served when you prepare it so that you can eat it hot. If you can, heat the serving plates a little before serving. Pancetta and pecorino cheese are very savory so no salt needs to be added. I use whole wheat pasta and organic eggs when possible.
Last week, while I was in Miami, I invited over for dinner my good friend from college, Axel, who lives there. I made the Brown Sugar Pork Tenderloins with this pasta and the reviews were fabulous! This recipe is the traditional way to make it (eggs, pancetta and cheese), but there are many variations. I never order this dish when dining out because you never know what you are going to get. Some restaurants make it with cream sauce, I guess because 1. it is safer (it is risky eating raw eggs) 2. appearance (cream sauce just looks nicer and more appetizing) and 3. it is just plain easier. You may put the eggs in boiling water for a little less than a minute to reduce risk of bacteria. Immediately take them out and run them under cold water. Crack them and put them in a bowl and whisk together, then add cheese. One last thing, if you want to give it some color and a nice twist add sweet green peas. Here is my version of Linguine alla Carbonara.
Linguine alla Carbonara
1/2 pound of pancetta thinly sliced and diced (use bacon if you can’t find pancetta)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
3 eggs (room temperature)
1 pound of linguine
3 hand fulls of grated pecorino romano (about 1/3 pound or 3/4 cup)
pepper to taste
fresh parmesan cheese for garnish
1. Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add salt and some olive oil.
2. Add tbsp olive oil to skillet (medium-hi heat) and saute pancetta until golden brown (do not let it become too crispy).
3. Add pasta to boiling water. Meanwhile, beat eggs with a whisk and add cheese to create a lumpy mixture almost like yogurt. If it is too liquid, add more pecorino cheese.
4. Drain pasta and toss with pancetta (including fat) and butter.
5. Immediately, add pasta and pancetta to egg/cheese mixture and toss to coat evenly. The hot pasta and pancetta will melt cheese and cook eggs. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve at once.