Spaghetti alla carbonara, indeed, has its origins in Italy; but, of course, it is now served all over the world. Apparently, “carbonara” refers to charcoal workers or coal miners, for whom this dish may have been created. I can’t help thinking of the large amount of black pepper required, however, when I hear “carbonara.”
This is another standby for me, as I always have the ingredients–pasta, bacon, eggs, parmesan cheese, black pepper–on hand. You can use any long pasta, such as spaghetti, linguini, fettuccine… Pancetta would
make it more Italian, but bacon or lardons work well. Pecorino can substitute for parmesan, but you absolutely must use black pepper.
Start to crisp the bacon and boil water for the pasta, and then separate the yolks from about four eggs (for half a box of pasta, which makes two servings) into a large bowl. Grate about half a cup of cheese directly into the bowl, add a pinch of salt and much freshly ground black pepper, and whisk together into a paste. When the pasta is ready, use tongs and transfer a small amount into the bowl, tossing immediately. Now you can add a little more and toss; continue until all pasta is incorporated. This technique, which brings hot pasta water with the pasta, cooks the egg yolks without scrambling them. At this point, you can add some bacon fat, or not, and taste for seasoning. Plate and grate more cheese on top, if you would like, and then sprinkle on the crunchy bacon. Do not wait to dig in!