Carbonara is one of the most popular and delicious Italian pasta dishes that you can prepare at home with a few simple ingredients. If you love the creamy texture and salty flavour of this classic dish, then you will be pleased to know that it is surprisingly easy to cook. In this ultimate guide, we will take you through the history of Carbonara, the ingredients you will need, the cutlery required, and a step-by-step guide on how to prepare the recipe.
A brief history of Carbonara
Carbonara is believed to have originated in Rome during the Second World War, where it was created as a hearty meal for Italian soldiers. The Carbonara recipe was made using ingredients that were readily available to the soldiers, including eggs, cheese, and bacon. It is also rumoured that the name of the dish comes from the Italian word ‘carbonari’, which means charcoal workers, as the dish was popular among coal miners.
Over the years, Carbonara has become a staple in Italian cuisine, and it is now enjoyed all over the world. The traditional Carbonara recipe has remained relatively unchanged, with only a few minor variations to suit different tastes.
Classic Carbonara recipe
Carbonara is a dish that is rich, creamy and indulgent. It has a complex flavour profile that is both savoury and salty. The dish gets its umami flavour from the combination of pancetta or guanciale, which are both cured meats with a salty, smoky taste. The Parmesan cheese used in the Carbonara recipes also adds a sharp, nutty flavour that complements the other ingredients, creating the ultimate delight and comfort food everyone loves.
- 400g spaghetti
- 4 eggs
- 100g parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 150g pancetta or guanciale, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt, to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
- Large pot
- Frying pan
- Mixing bowl
- Fill a large pot (available on WMF Official Store) with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Add a generous pinch of salt to the water.
- Once the water is boiling, add the spaghetti to the pot and cook it according to the package instructions or until it is al dente.
- While the spaghetti is cooking, heat the olive oil in a frying pan (both available on Shopee Supermarket) over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.
- Add the pancetta to the frying pan and cook for 5-7 minutes or until it is crispy.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and Parmesan cheese until they are well combined.
- Once the spaghetti is cooked, drain it in a colander and reserve about ½ cup of the pasta water.
- Add the spaghetti to the frying pan with the pancetta and garlic and toss to combine.
- Remove the frying pan from the heat and add the egg and cheese mixture to the spaghetti. Toss the spaghetti until the eggs and cheese are evenly distributed and the sauce is creamy. If the sauce is too thick, add a little bit of the reserved pasta water to thin it out.
- Season the Carbonara with salt and black pepper to taste.
- Divide the Carbonara into individual portions and garnish with chopped parsley (available on GrocerKing Official Store) if desired.
And there you have it – a mouth-watering Carbonara that is sure to impress your friends and family. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced cook, this Carbonara recipe is easy to follow and produces consistently delicious results.
Tips to prepare the perfect Carbonara recipe
While most Carbonara recipes are relatively simple and easy to follow, it’s common that some newbie cooks may slip up. So here are some tricks you can use to perfect your classic Carbonara recipe:
Use quality ingredients
When making Carbonara, it is important to use high-quality ingredients, especially the pancetta or guanciale. These cured meats are the star of the dish and should be chosen carefully for their flavour and texture.
Cook the spaghetti al dente
To ensure that your Carbonara has the perfect texture, make sure to cook the spaghetti al dente. This means that the pasta is cooked but still firm to the bite.
Reserve pasta water
When draining the spaghetti, make sure to reserve about ½ cup of the pasta water. You can also use this starchy water thin out the Carbonara sauce if it is too thick.
Use a mixing bowl
Add the egg mixture off the heat
When adding the egg and cheese mixture to the spaghetti, make sure to remove the frying pan from the heat. This will prevent the eggs from scrambling and ensure that the sauce is creamy and smooth.
Carbonara is best served immediately after cooking. If you need to wait before serving, keep the dish warm by placing it in a preheated oven or covering it with foil.
How to vary your Carbonara recipe
While the classic Carbonara recipe is delicious as it is, there are many ways to vary the dish to suit your taste preferences or dietary restrictions. Here are some ideas for how to vary your Carbonara recipe:
Substitute the pasta
While spaghetti is the traditional pasta used in Carbonara, you can use other types of pasta such as linguine or fettuccine (both available on Shopee Supermarket). You can also use gluten-free or whole grain pasta if you prefer.
To add some extra nutrition and colour to your Carbonara, you can add vegetables such as peas, asparagus, or mushrooms. Simply sauté them in a separate pan and add them to the pasta and sauce before serving.
Change the cured meat
While pancetta and guanciale are the traditional cured meats used in Carbonara, you can substitute them with bacon, ham, or even smoked salmon. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time and seasoning accordingly.
Use a different type of cheese
While Parmesan cheese is the traditional cheese used in Carbonara, you can use other types of cheese such as Pecorino Romano or Asiago. You can also experiment with different types of cheese to create your own unique flavour profile.
If you like a bit of heat, you can add some crushed red pepper flakes to the dish to give it a spicy kick.
Make it vegetarian
To make a vegetarian version of Carbonara, simply omit the cured meat and add some extra cheese and vegetables to the dish. You can also use vegetarian alternatives such as vegetarian bacon or tofu.
Make it healthier
To make a healthier version of Carbonara, you can reduce the amount of cheese and cured meat used in the dish or add more vegetables to increase the nutrient content of the dish.
Overall, there are many ways to vary your Carbonara recipe to suit your taste preferences or dietary restrictions. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients and flavours to create your own unique version of this classic Italian dish.
Buon appetito with the perfect classic Carbonara recipe
With this ultimate guide, you now have everything you need to prepare a delicious Carbonara at home. Whether you are cooking for yourself or for a group of friends, this Carbonara recipe is easy to follow and produces consistently delicious results. So, why not give it a try today and enjoy a taste of Italy in your own home. Or give these Indian curry recipes and rendang recipes a go to switch things up!