SPAGHETTI ALLA CARBONARA (with bacon, cheese and eggs, for four)
“A true carbonara has no cream, and it can be slightly tricky in its execution. The key is to toss and thoroughly mix the cooked pasta off the heat with the cheese, eggs, pepper and pasta water to create a creamy yet not overly thick sauce.” Mario Batali, Molto Italiano
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces guanciale, pancetta or good bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 pound spaghetti
½ cup, or more, freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
3 large eggs
freshly ground black pepper
a pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
1. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot, and add 2 tablespoons salt.
2. Meanwhile, combine the olive oil and guanicale in a 12 to 14 inch saute pan set over medium heat, and cook until the guanicale has rendered its fat and is crispy and golden, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside (do not drain the fat).
3. While the pasta is cooking, beat the eggs in a small bowl and stir in about ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
4. Cook the spaghetti in the boiling water until just al dente (about 9 minutes for Barilla spaghetti). Scoop out 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and set aside. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the guanicale, then toss in the pasta and heat, shaking the pan, for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and toss with the egg mixture. If the dressed pasta is dry, add a little reserved cooking water. Add plenty of black pepper, more Parmesan to taste and the red pepper flakes, if you are using them, and serve immediately.
adapted from Mario Batali, Molto Italiano