The Italians will tell you that real spaghetti carbonara has no cream in it. The creamy sauce is actually made with beaten raw eggs and grated cheese. Right after draining, the hot pasta is tossed with the sauce and you work quickly so that instead of totally cooking the eggs, you get a creamy mixture that coats every strand of pasta.
Personally, I have always preferred to cook carbonara the bastardized way. It’s habit. When the kids were very young, I wasn’t sure how safe raw eggs would be for them so I never used raw eggs. Then, the kids got used to the spaghetti carbonara with cream and that was that.
But, a few nights ago, my husband and I were watching TV and he saw Nigella Lawson cooking carbonara the traditional way. Realizing how easy it was, he decided that spaghetti carbonara was what we’d have for dinner on Sunday night. He cooks on Sundays so the decision was really his.
Belly bacon was used in this spaghetti carbonara.
The Italian bacon called pancetta is traditional but that’s a little hard to find here in the boondocks.
As for the cheese, Parmesan is traditional but my husband opted for the less pungent medium cheddar. What “medium” cheddar? Cheddar cheese may be mild, medium or sharp depending on the flavor and aroma.
- 250 grams spagetti
- 250 grams smoked (not honey-cured) belly bacon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 250 grams cheese
- 4 eggs
- Cook the spaghetti in boiling water (see how to cook al dente pasta like a pro).
- While the pasta cooks, grate the cheese and set aside.
- Cut the belly bacon into small pieces and fry in olive oil.
- Crack the eggs into a bowl. Add salt and pepper. Beat well.
- Add the grated cheese to the beaten eggs and mix well.
- When the pasta is done, drain without rinsing and pour into the bacon in the pan without removing the bacon fat.
- Toss and keep tossing until the pasta has absorbed all the oil and juices.
- Pour the egg-cheese sauce into the pasta-bacon mixture and toss to coat each strand.
- Serve and enjoy your spaghetti carbonara!