Story has it that spaghetti carbonara was born from food rations after Allied forces liberated Rome in 1944. That’s just of the anecdotes, actually, and you may read the rest in “How spaghetti alla carbonara was born“.
But if carbonara was indeed born in the ashes of World War II, how exactly did the Romans cook it? One interpretation is that American G.I.’s simply tossed hot pasta with cooked bacon and powdered eggs, the Romans saw them doing it and simply copied what they did — but, of course, executing the dish with much more finesse. The other interpretation is that it was the Romans themselves who made the best of rationed bacon and powdered egg.
Whichever interpretation is more accurate, this is how they must have cooked carbonara with powdered egg, bacon and dried pasta.
American G.I. Spaghetti Carbonara
- 120 grams spaghetti I used spaghettini for this recipe
- 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon butter
- 150 grams bacon cut into small pieces
- 1/4 cup powdered egg
- freshly cracked black pepper to garnish
- grated Pecorino to garnish
- Boil a pot of water. Add a teaspoon of salt.
- Cook the spaghetti in boiling water.
- While the spaghetti cooks, gently heat the olive oil and butter in a frying pan.
- Spread the bacon pieces in the frying pan. Cook over medium heat until done and just starting to brown around the edges. Scoop out and set aside.
- Scoop one cup of the pasta liquid and pour into a bowl. Stir in the powdered egg.
- Drain the pasta and dump into the frying pan with the rendered bacon fat. Toss well.
- Pour the powdered egg mixture on the pasta. Toss. Taste. Add salt if needed.
- Add the cooked bacon to the pasta. Toss.
- Divide the spaghetti carbonara into bowls. Garnish with black pepper and grated Pecorino. Serve immediately.