One of my favorite dishes
is spaghetti alla carbonara. This pasta is prepared all
; however the Romans
claim it as their regional specialty. The carbonara sauce is made with olive oil, eggs, pecorino Romano cheese,
black pepper and bacon or chopped guanciale. Bacon not smoked, in
Italian is called guanciale and it is made from the pig’s jowl or cheeks; guanciale or non smoked bacon is mostly used. Chopped parsley is added for color and taste and used to
This dish was first
prepared after WWII, when the American Army occupied Italy
U.S.A. was sending among other needed food supplies, bacon and dry eggs; they were inexpensive and available in
Housewives and cooks,
utilizing the bacon, dry eggs and some cheese, composed a simple, new and delicious sauce for
spaghetti: the carbonara.
It is called Carbonara, which means
“charcoal style”, because of the smoked smell of the cured bacon used when this dish was first prepared and
because of the abundant quantity of black pepper used to conceal the taste of the smoked bacon, which gave
the impression that was dusted with carbone, charcoal.
A delicious, satisfying and nutritious dish, full of proteins and
starches: in those days nobody was on a diet and cholesterol was an unknown word to most of the
This easy dish can be prepared in a
short time; make sure to serve it hot and immediately. Complete the dinner with a plain salad, fruits in season,
a white dry wine, some Italian cookies and espresso coffee.
1 lb. spaghetti
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 small onion chopped
½ lb chopped guanciale
6 tablespoons grated Pecorino cheese
3 fresh egg yolks, at room temperature
1 large egg at room temperature
½ cup of chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
In a 6 quart sauce pot, bring to a boil 4 quarts of water and 1
tablespoons of salt.
Place the oil in a skillet, over a medium heat. Add the onion and
cook until translucent and before they get colored add the bacon.
Cook the pasta al dente, following the manufacturer
recommendations. At the same time, let the onion and bacon cook until the fat melts; then simmer at a very
low heat, until ready to use.
In a large serving bowl beat the eggs 2 tablespoons of grated
cheese, ½ of the parsley, salt and pepper to taste.
When the pasta is cooked, drain the pasta and reserve a cup of the
Return spaghetti in the same pot and add the eggs and cheese
mixture; the eggs will cook and get stuck to the hot pasta.
Add the bacon and onion and quickly mix it well until pasta and
sauce are combined. Add 2 additional tablespoons of grated cheese, and some of the reserved water, enough to
moisten the pasta to a creamy consistency.
Divide the spaghetti in 4 dishes and sprinkle each dish with the
remaining cheese, garnish with parsley and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
My niece Mrs. Marzia Fiorilla adds into the frying bacon and onion
some blanched artichokes’ hearts for extra taste and color.
P.S.: My aunt Francesca, who preferred the eggs well cooked, mixed
the spaghetti and the egg sauce over a medium heat, for just a minute or until the eggs would start to
Then she would transfer the pasta in a large bowl and add the
bacon, onions, cheese and some of the cooking liquid enough to moisten the pasta to a creamy