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Spaghetti alla carbonara

By Judith Barrett
Globe Correspondent / March 4, 2009

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Serves 4

There are many ways to vary this recipe. You can also increase or decrease the number of eggs (I like to use one egg per person). To get the eggs quickly to room temperature, set them in a bowl of hot tap water for 3 minutes. Since guanciale is not widely available, I recommend pancetta, which is different from American bacon. Cook the pancetta a little more or a little less. I prefer it crisp and crunchy, but soft and chewy is more traditional. You can also eliminate some or all of the rendered fat from the pancetta, depending on your concern for your waistline.

4 eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup pecorino Romano, Parmigiano-Reggiano, or a combination
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 ounces pancetta, cut about 1/4-inch thick, slices cut into 1/2-inch long strips
1 tablespoon salt
1 pound imported spaghetti
1. In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the cheese and black pepper; set aside.

2. In a medium skillet over low heat, cook the pancetta slowly, turning the pieces occasionally, for 15 minutes or until they are cooked through.

3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the salt and spaghetti. Cook, stirring often, for 8 minutes or until the pasta is tender but still has some bite. Drain the pasta and return it immediately to the pot.

4. Stir in the egg and cheese mixture and toss well to coat the pasta thoroughly. Add the pancetta and toss again to distribute it evenly. Serve with more cheese, if you like.