There’s new fun food at our house!!

I know, I know… How unusual… but the cured egg yolks really did come out good! My stomach is smiling, as my sister, Eileen, used to say.

I had already thawed the lamb rack, otherwise  I probably would have made the carbonara the main dish, but, a bit of culture-mixing is nothing new in our house, either. We’re eclectic from head to toe.

The eggs came out pretty much as I thought. They have a creamy/salty/eggy taste that really went well atop the carbonara. I can see these being used with asparagus, on garlic toast or bruschetta, or shaved onto salad. The possibilities really are endless.

Carbonara is traditionally made with spaghetti, but Nonna no longer likes spaghetti noodles, so I went for a short rigatoni that’s easier for her to eat. I do believe that pasta shapes make a difference, but in this case, it came out just fine.

The basic carbonara recipe is:

Pasta alla Carbonara

  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • 4 oz pancetta, diced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup grated pecorino romano
  • fresh black pepper
  • pasta cooking water

Start with a cold skillet and add the diced pancetta. Slowly heat the pancetta until it renders its fat and crisps.

Mix the eggs with the cheese and set aside.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta. Drain, and reserve a bit of the cooking water.

Add the cooked pasta to the pancetta pan and swirl to coat all of the pasta with the rendered fat and pancetta, and garlic. Remove the pan from the heat and quickly stir in the egg and cheese mixture, tossing it quickly to coat the pasta and cook the egg without scrambling it. Add a bit of hot pasta water, if needed to thin.

Place on plates and add several hefty twists of black pepper and then garnish with a grated cured egg yolk, if desired.

There are a few different takes on making a carbonara. I’ve heard of it being made with just egg yolks, but I really can’t picture an Italian woman separating eggs and saving the whites for something else. Really. And the cheese is pecorino romano. Locatelli to the uninitiated – hand-crafted from 100% pure sheep’s milk. You can taste the difference.

And no cream and most definitely no peas! Just a couple of really good-quality ingredients.

Guanciale would be the meat of choice, but it’s impossible to find out here in ‘burbia. If you can get it, use it in place of the pancetta.