In honor of International Carbonara day, we are sharing this beloved recipe that has ambiguous origins. Although there are other recipes using pasta, eggs, and bacon, we don’t know exactly where it came from, but it appears to have developed in post-war Rome and brought back stateside by returning WWII soldiers.
Carbonara is a rich, satisfying dish with many variations. Here is our recipe for a classic carbonara.
3 Tbsp. kosher salt, plus more
4 oz. Pancetta
2 oz. Doris grated parmesan
4 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. Doris extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. Doris bronze dye bucatini or rigatoni or your favorite pasta.
Fill a large pot with 6 quarts of water add 2 Tbsp. salt and set temperature to high. Add 3 Tbsp. salt and cover pot with a lid .
While you are waiting on the water, do a little prep. Cut 4 oz. pancetta into about 1x¼” strips. Add 2 oz. parmesan cheese and set aside one-quarter of the cheese for later.
Thoroughly whisk 4 egg yolks and 2 whole eggs in a medium bowl, then stir in remaining grated cheese. Add fresh ground pepper to taste.
Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp around the edges, 7–10 minutes.
Remove pot from heat. Remove pieces of pancetta, leaving oil, and transfer to a small bowl. Pour remaining fat into a heatproof bowl or measuring cup, then add back about 3 Tbsp. to pot.
Cook 1 lb. pasta in boiling water, stirring occasionally. Just before pasta is finished, scoop out 1¾ cups pasta cooking liquid with a heatproof measuring cup.
Add 1 cup reserved pasta cooking liquid to your heavy pot and bring to a boil over medium-high. Drain pasta in a colander, then transfer to the heavy pot.
Cook pasta, stirring constantly and vigorously, until al dente and water is reduced by about half, about 2 minutes. Remove pot from heat.
Whisk ¼ cup pasta cooking liquid into reserved egg mixture, then very slowly stream into the heavy cooking pot.
Stir constantly until cheese is melted and egg is thickened to form a lovely, glossy sauce. Season with salt, if needed.
You can thin the sauce with the remaining ½ cup pasta cooking liquid until it’s the consistency of heavy cream.
Add the pancetta, toss. Now you can plate (or bowl). Top with pepper and reserved cheese.
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