Carbonara is a favorite at most Italian restaurants but making it at home seems tricky due to the use of less-than-fully-cooked eggs. This recipes imparts just enough heat into the eggs to thicken them without turning them into scrambled eggs and without leaving them raw. Easy to make, with flavor that matches the best carbonara I’ve had at any fine dining restaurant.
Bucatini Carbonara is famously rich and a special pasta dish, well worth trying at home. Using regular spaghetti is an option, but why not try this pasta that’s a little more substantial. Bucatini is like small tubes with a hole running through its length- and the design of this pasta makes for a nice “bite” when you dig in.
Good quality pancetta is called for, but I’ve substituted thick slab bacon (also quality counts) several times. The combination of the salty panchetta with two types of cheese-Romano and Parmesan-along with the creaminess from the egg sauce is unparalleled for complex flavor.
Fresh or frozen peas at the end add nice color contrast, but could be left out if you desire.
Ready in under 30 minutes, serve immediately for fresh flavor and tender textures.
- 1/2 pound pancetta, cut as a single 1/2-inch-thick slice, or good slab bacon cut in the same manner
- 4 garlic cloves, divided
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup dry white wine (or chicken broth or water)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup freshly grated romano cheese
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen/thawed peas
- Black pepper, freshly ground
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley with extra to garnish, if desired
- 16 oz. Bucatini pasta (May substitute regular spaghetti)
- Bring about 6 quarts of generously salted water to a boil. Add the bucatini and cook according to directions, until al dente. When the pasta is done, reserve 1/2 cup of the water, then drain.
- Cut the pancetta or bacon into chunks about 1/4 inch wide. Set aside.
- Lightly smash the garlic, enough to split it. Reserve one garlic clove for later. in a medium saute’ pan, add 3 garlic cloves and the olive oil. Turn heat to medium high and saute’ until the garlic becomes colored a deep golden. Remove garlic and discard.
- Add the pancetta or bacon into the pan and cook until it just begins to crisp at the edges. Add the wine, let it bubble away for 1 or 2 minutes, adding the reserved 1 garlic clove during the last 30 seconds. Then turn off the heat.
- In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and the cheeses until well combined.
- Return the pan with the pancetta to medium heat and add half of the reserved pasta water to the pan. Toss in the bucatini and agitate the pan over the heat for a few seconds until the bubbling subsides. Much of the water will evaporate.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the egg mixture and stir quickly until the eggs thicken (stirring is super important so the eggs don’t cook too much or scramble). If the sauce seems too thick, thin it out with a little bit more of the reserved pasta water.
- Add the thawed peas and toss. Season with black pepper and taste. The pancetta or bacon should be salty enough for the dish, but if necessary, add a little salt.
- Toss the fresh parsley into the Carbonara just before serving.
- Divide into bowls and serve immediately.