Pasta alla Carbonara is an Italian pride, known and loved all around the world. This is a typical Roman recipe, a pillar of this culinary tradition… but only a few know that its history is quite recent.
The history of Carbonara
At the beginning of XX century – let’s say till almost the half of the century – nobody knew about Carbonara, it simply didn’t exist. Anyway, despite its recent history, its origins are not clear.
There are a lot of different suppositions, but almost everyone agrees that the main contribution to the creation of Carbonara was given by the american soldiers who fought in Italy during the WWII.
According to some, the soldiers putted together the eggs and the bacon that were part of their daily ration to cook the pasta; it seems that these two ingredients reminded them of their home. The name Carbonara, for the people supporting this thesis, come from the colour that the pasta took after the great amount of pepper that was putted on it (in italian, it derives from the word “carbone” that means coal).
According to others, carbonara came from the typical recipe from Lazio “cacio e ova” – made with grated cheese and eggs- widespread thanks to the coalmen (from them the Carbonara would take its name). Even in this case, the new recipe would spread in war time thanks to the soldiers.
In both of these cases, the recipe had a very fast circulation and reached Rome, where it had a lot of success, even because the ingredients were easy to find.
Here below you will find the recipe for four persons.
It is a very simple recipe, therefore, there are a few variants during the preparation (for example, someone puts the pepper and someone not, someone put one yolk for each person, someone adds a whole eggs…). Here there is the most popular recipe in Italy.
Ah, a few words to explain you what guanciale is: it is an italian cured meat, made from pork jowl or cheeks; in fact, its name derives from “guancia”, the italian word for cheek.
- 400 gr spaghetti.
- 150 gr guanciale
- 4 yolks (one for each one) and 1 whole egg.
- 50 gr. of Pecorino Romano
- salt and pepper
- Start putting to heat the pot with the water for the pasta
- Remove the rind from the guanciale and cut it in stripes wide about 1 cm.
- Put the guanciale in a no-stick pan and brown it at a medium heat for about 15 minutes.
- Put in a bowl the yolks and the whole egg with almost all the pecorino (use the remaining to dress the pasta) and mix with a whip.
- Turn off the flame of the guanciale and, when the water is boiling, put the spaghetti in it.
- When the spaghetti are cooked, put them in the pan with the guanciale and stir them; then, add the whipped eggs and stir.
- Dress the spaghetti alla carbonara with the remaining pecorino and a bit of pepper and serve it.