The traditional cured meat added to this dish is not bacon, but guanciale or pancetta. Since those meats are not always easy to find in most regions, bacon or ham are subbed in. We have tried it all ways since we live in New York and have access to most everything. You can still maintain the dish with bacon. The dish is also brought together by the egg and cheese mixture. The eggs cook while being tossed around with the warm pasta. The trick though is to take the pasta off the heat/burner prior to adding the egg mixture in. If you don’t, you will probably end up with scrambled eggs in your pasta.
Please make sure to reserve at least one cup of the pasta water prior to draining your cooked spaghetti. After you mix the pasta with the egg mixture, stir in some of that starchy pasta water to help glue the pasta and the sauce together. Do it 1/2 cup at a time to gage how much you need. The best toppings to add to this dish are either more grated cheese, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, freshly cracked black pepper or, some fresh basil or parsley.
Easy Spaghetti Carbonara
- 12 oz spaghetti, uncooked
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/2 lb pancetta, cubed
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- black pepper
- Cook your pasta al dente in salt water as per the package instructions. Reserve at least 1 cup pasta water prior to draining.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and then mix in the parmesan cheese. Set aside.
- In a deep skillet, cook your pancetta until just crispy and done. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Reserve the fat in the pan and stir in the garlic until fragrant – about 30 seconds. Next add the cooked pasta to the pan and toss to coat everything.
- Remove the pan from the burner and then add in the egg mixture. Immediately toss everything quickly until pasta is creamy. At this point add in 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water and stir. Add the pancetta to the pan and salt and pepper to taste and give it one final toss.