For whatever reason, and I might blame watching Eat, Pray, Love or the ever decreasing value of the Euro, but I have been daydreaming of Rome a lot lately. I was lucky enough to spend almost five months in that beautiful city in college, the Fall of 2007.
That experience was priceless. Exploring a new city, country, and culture, but also learning so much more about myself.
Lately, I’ve been daydreaming about being back in the city. What I would eat, and where I would explore. Unfortunately, I can’t just hop on a plane to dig into Rome again but what I can do is bring a little bit of Rome home with me.
When in Rome my host-mom taught me how to make real Roman Carbonara. This is much better than 90% of the recipes you will find in the US. Why? It is all about ingredients. Most US recipes use the wrong cheese and a cream sauce instead of egg. It is still a good pasta but not Roman carbonara.
This is also my most asked for recipe from friends. It is really easy and if you make it once you’ll probably never need to look up the recipe again. It’s that easy. It is perfect for large groups or a lazy evening at home.
- 1 lbs pasta (I like bowtie or orecchiette)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces pancetta (You can get it at Trade Joe’s or bacon if you can’t find pancetta)
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped (Or a little more if you like garlic)
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups freshly grated Pecorino-Reggiano, plus more for serving (Trader Joe’s and gourmet grocery stores)
- Freshly ground black pepper
You will want to prepare the sauce while the pasta is boiling to make sure that the eggs cook. If you let the pasta cool too quickly this can be trouble.
Boil the pasta as directed. I prefer closer to al dente. You can also use gluten free options, my preference is the brown rice /quinoa blend at Trade Joe’s. If you use any non-traditional pasta be very careful to not over cook it.
While the pasta is boiling in a saucepan sauté the garlic and pancetta in olive oil. This is another portion that is to taste, if you like it really crispy cook it a little longer. If you’re like me and like your bacon a little softer just cook the pancetta till it starts to brown a bit.
In a bowl (large enough to mix the pasta) mix the grated cheese, but leave a little on the side for topping, with the eggs and pepper to taste. Stir until the mixture is smooth and evenly combined.
When the pasta is cooked to your liking drain the pasta and toss it in the pancetta pan. This covers the pasta in the fat and adds great taste. Then immediately mix the pasta into the egg/cheese mixture. Mix until well covered.
From this point on, it is all about your pallet. Add more cheese, garlic, salt or pepper to your liking and enjoy. And if you can’t eat it all don’t worry it makes great leftovers.
If you’d like cook up some chicken to enjoy as well. This dish can work as a main course or a side.
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