Rigatoni alla Carbonara
This is a classic Roman recipe. It’s impossible to go to a random ‘trattoria’ in Rome and not find Carbonara on the menu. Nevertheless, did you know that this dish was actually born in the US? In fact, its first recipe appears in “An Extraordinary Guide to What’s Cooking on Chicago’s Near North Side”, in 1952! If you think about it, the combination between bacon (Guanciale) and eggs, it’s something really American. Here is the recipe for the authentic Carbonara, the only one, that you need to follow carefully to turn out perfectly for your guests!
380 gr (13.4 oz) Rigatoni dry pasta
150 gr (5.2 oz) Guanciale DOP – whole piece best; alternatively, 0.25 inches thick slices. If you can’t find Guanciale, go for Pancetta or Bacon.
5 egg yolks
30 gr (1 oz) Pecorino romano DOP cheese
20 gr (0.7 oz) Parmesan Reggiano DOP
Black Peppercorns (half tablespoon)
Mediterranean Sea Salt
Bring the water to a boil in a large-sized pot.
On a cutting board, cut the Guanciale (or Pancetta) into strips of about 0.5 inches long and ¼ inch thick, taking care to dispose of the rind.
With the help of a meat mallet, crush the black peppercorns to get a coarsely ground black pepper.
Separate the yolks from the egg whites. Pour the 5 yolks into a bowl and add almost all of the Pecorino Romano DOP cheese (leaving about a tablespoon for the final garnishment), the Parmesan Reggiano DOP and the black pepper. Mix the sauce with a whisk until you get a thick cream.
In a large-sized sauté pan, add a tablespoon of EVOO and the Guanciale strips. Cook over medium heat until the Guanciale is golden brown. Turn off the burner and set aside.
Salt the boiling water, and add the rigatoni. After about 3 minutes, add half of a ladle of cooking water to the yolk sauce and mix with a whisk until a semi-liquid sauce is reached.
Drain the rigatoni when it is “al dente” (firm to the tooth) with the help of a skimmer (do not dispose of the cooking water) and put the pasta in the pan with the Guanciale, add one or two ladles of cooking water and stir on high heat for about 1 minute. Now turn off the burner (the rigatoni must have absorbed almost all the sauce). Let it cool for about 45 seconds, then pour the yolk sauce and stir with a wooden spoon (this will prevent the egg yolks from becoming scrambled).
Serve and enjoy your Carbonara immediately with the final garnishment of Pecorino and ground black pepper.
This dish pairs perfectly with Chardonnay or Frascati Superiore.