When it comes to carbonara, I think the whole food world cooks what’s called the Barbara Lynch style: no cream, pasta water, adding pecorino off the fire in batches, plenty of yolks and so forth. I have been cooking mine that way for a while, and I was surprised that when I spent time in some pretty serious Roman kitchens, they did theirs this way, a near carbon copy (nice pun!) of the Lynch methodology. It’s a simple dish and I asked the chefs about the lack of the cream, the ‘cooking’ of the eggs off the heat and they all insist that this is the way it’s been done for as long as they can remember. One thing I would tell you is that this dish is superb, even without fussy ingredients, but it becomes HEAVENLY with a seriously good cheese, and orange-yolked farm fresh eggs. It will change your life.
- 6 ounces guanciale or pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 pound rigatoni
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
In a small skillet, cook the guanciale over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the fat is rendered and the meat is tender, about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and egg with the guanciale and the rendered fat. Add the pasta, 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water and 2/3 cup of the cheese to the egg mixture and toss until creamy, about 1 minute; add more reserved cooking water if necessary. Add the crushed red pepper and season with salt and pepper. Serve in shallow bowls, sprinkled with the remaining cheese.
Originally published in Andrew Zimmern’s Kitchen Adventures on foodandwine.com.
Photograph by Madeleine Hill.