My first memory of carbonara comes from a little hotel outside of Florence, Italy, on a school trip. The owner of the hotel, who was also the chef, brought a huge steaming pan to our table, and served us himself. As we ate, he came around to refill our plates, and poked a finger into my arm. “You are too skinny! Eat! Eat!”
Making carbonara is about acting decisively and having no fear. You’re pouring raw eggs over pasta, and putting it on the table just a couple minutes later. It’s not for everyone, and that’s okay. If it up your alley, though, your actions from the minute you take the pasta from the boiling water should be sure and swift. Have everything laid out in order ahead of time, and don’t hesitate, just toss the ingredients together and move on to the next step.
Carbonara is a Northern Italian dish that uses hot pasta to cook eggs and cheese together, combining to make a creamy sauce with the perfect amount of salt from the bacon. This is a fast-cooking weeknight recipe that easily scales up if you have company.
In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil.
Fry the bacon or pancetta in the olive oil over low heat in a large skillet. You want the meat to be cooked through, but not crispy. Drain most of the resulting liquid, but not all. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolks, cheese, salt, and pepper together.
Fill a large mixing bowl with very hot water and set aside.
Add pasta to water and boil until just before al-dente.
Remove pasta from water and toss with the bacon. Do not discard the water you boiled the pasta in.
Dump hot water from mixing bowl and dry it. Quickly add the pasta and bacon mixture, and pour the egg mixture over. Add about 1/3 cup reserved pasta water, and mix vigorously. The pasta water should help the egg and cheese to form a creamy coating over the pasta. If it's stringy, add a little more water.
Serve with a little black pepper and cheese sprinkled over top.
Despite the fact that the eggs fully cook on the hot pasta, if you shouldn't be eating raw things per doctor's orders, don't eat this. Common sense.