Alex’s Carbonara

Here is the Original Carbonara Recipe from the business card I got in 2022 at “Luciano – Cucina Italiana” in Rome.

Ingredients :
280g spaghetti
4 egg yolks
200g guanciale in 1cm cubes
30g grana padano, grated
20g pecorino romano, grated

Instructions :
– Cook pasta in boiling water like mentioned on package.
– Frying little guanciale cubes in order to make them crispy outside and soft inside.
– Whisk in a bowl the egg yolks, the grana padano, the pecorino and the melted fat obtained from frying guanciale.
– Let this mixture rest.
– Once pasta is cooked, mix? (mantecarla) the mixture, ground pepper, and the little cubes of guanciale in a bowl, add a little warm water, and mix to get it creamy.
– Plate the pasta, springkle pecorino cheese oon top, and grrind fresh pepper too.
– Serve at the right temperature, not too hot, not too cold, tepid.

Now, below are my personal notes on how to really make carbonara pasta like Luciano Monosilio.
70g pasta per person seems a good amount since the dish is very rich.
Use only egg yolks (1 per person) if you want a richer, yelower colour, or use whole eggs if you want it a little more traditional.

Spaghettoni, thick spaghetti are prefered to spaghetti. They take longer to cook, it gives you more time to cook the sauce PLUS they are hardder to overcook. Worst you could do is cappelli, vermicelli. They would mush and soak up too much sauce anyways.
Pasta pot should be wide more than tall, especially for cooking spaghetti/oni. Underseason the water ( a pinch is plenty). Water level should be 1/2 inch (1cm) over pasta. Stirring is mandatory.
Undercook pasta by 2-3 minutes, this will compensate for the amount of time they spend in the bain marie afterwards.

Luciano cuts guanciale in cubes, not matchsticks. The card says 1cm cubes but it’s more than that. At least 1/2 inch / 1.5 cm if not 2, as they shrink a bit during frying. If you’ve ever cooked steak before, you know that obtaining perfect medium rare center is easier with a thicker piece. Overcook = dry. Cooked right = juicy.
Don’t go high heat. Pork fat has a low smoking point. Also, the chunks are too big for this they would be burnt outside and raw inside. Go Medium high to sear first, and then low. Once they are crispy on the outside, get them off the heat. Room temperature is fine. Keep all that melted guanciale fat, we’re gonna need HALF OF IT, not all of it, for the sauce later on.

Ingredients mix better if they are warm, and using a double boiler instead of just a frying pan, means it will be more gentle. We’ll have more control, and we’ll be able to stay below 65°C where eggs start cooking and cheese start creating lumps. Large heatproof bowl over simmering water, the bottom of the bowl can’t touch water?
Whisk hard to mimick the SABAYON technique. SABAYON is a foamy custardy dessert where eggs are whisked over a bain marie. This dish really is about the light/foamy/airy texture. Air bubbles enhance sensory properties.
As you whisk : Drizzle pork fat in there. This is the same proccess as for HOLLANDAISE SAUCE. By gradually incorporating fat you create an foamy emulsion. Holanlldaise uses clarified butter but here it’s pork fat.

Published on May 18, 2022