Spaghetti Carbonara is famously flavourful, indulgent and delicious, yet so easy! It takes only 20 min start to finish! Tender pasta is tossed in a delicious Parmesan-egg sauce with ham. The heat from the pasta cooks the sauce making for a quick and creamy dish! The easiest pasta dish you will ever make.
1Onion - chopped
2clovesGarlic - minced - optional
300gSmoked ham - cut into small dice or guanciale or pancetta
Salt - to taste
2cupsParmesan cheese - freshly grated or Pecorino or a combination of the two
Put the spaghetti in the boiling water and cook until it is ‘al dente’ (not soft, but ‘to the bite’ which is what al dente means.).
Just before pasta is finished, scoop out 2-3 cups pasta starchy cooking liquid with a heatproof measuring cup to use it to adjust the consistency of your sauce if you wish.
Drain the pasta and keep it hot. Do NOT rinse the pasta, the starch helps the consistency of the sauce.
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and saute, stirring occasionally, until soft. Add the garlic, if using, and continue to cook until softened.
Add the Smoked ham to the pan with the onions and garlic and cook until just warmed through.
Whisk together the Parmesan, eggs, salt and some pepper in a bowl.
Toss the hot pasta in the ham & onion mix.
Remove your saucepan from the heat and immediately stir in the beaten egg and Parmesan mixture. And stir vigorously until well combined! The eggs will cook from the residual heat of the pan, and the hot pasta. If you keep the saucepan over the stovetop, you risk scrambling your eggs.
If using, add Béchamel sauce to the misture. Cream or béchamel aren’t traditionally added to carbonara but you can add a small splash of béchamel or cream if you’d like.
If needed, thin out the sauce with a bit of the reserved pasta water, until it reaches desired consistency.
If you want, sprinkle with a little fresh chopped parsley, oregano and parmesan cheese for garnish!
Guanciale is an Italian cured meat product prepared from pork jowl or cheeks. Its name is derived from guancia, the Italian word for 'cheek'. Pancetta, a cured Italian bacon (made of pork belly meat that is salt cured) which is normally not smoked, is sometimes used as a substitute when guanciale is not available.Save some pasta water - You might need to loosen your sauce later on, you might not. Just in case, save some starchy cooking water. If after you add the eggs and Parmesan, it doesn't seem creamy enough, gradually stir in some cooking water.You don’t need cream - To make an authentic carbonara sauce, you need eggs and Parmesan, you don’t need whipping (heavy) cream. The combination of eggs + Parmesan, whisked together, make a creamy, silky as hell sauce already. I have used 1 cup of Béchamel sauce but keep in mind that my recipe is not the authentic carbonara sauce, so if you want the authentic one, do NOT add it.Turn off the heat when you add the eggs - Stirring the egg mixture quickly into the pasta which should be hot enough to “cook” the egg to make a sauce but not so hot as to make it curdle. Remember that your pasta has to be hot to cook/thicken the egg mixture. If it’s too hot your sauce will not have a smooth consistency (so remove the pan from the heat just before tossing the egg mixture with the hot pasta).What Wine Goes with Carbonara sauce? Spaghetti Carbonara is a rich pasta dish. Essentially, a salty, savoury dish which needs a cutting, fresh and zingy wine to lift everything up and keep things exciting, so the best wine pairings will always be crisp dry Italian whites like Pinot Grigios/Gris rather than a red. Let the full-bodied flavours of the eggs, cheese, and garlic take center stage and pair with a light, pear or citrusy flavoured wine. Gavi di Gavi is another very popular Italian white for those who like a fuller, slightly smoother white. Chablis also works well with creamy sauces, and with ham.