Coal Miner Style Spaghetti / Spaghetti alla Carbonara
Just about everyone I know has a recipe for spaghetti alla carbonara. This simple but heavenly dish is said to get its name from the coal miners who could easily make it with readily available ingredients: eggs, cheese, and guanciale, cured and salted, pig’s jowl and cheeks. A likely story, but the fact is that this dish is superb when made correctly and a completely balanced meal. The eggs should be of the highest quality and at room temperature so they will mix well with the spaghetti. The cheese should be none other than true Parmigiano-Reggiano, or pecorino Romano. Today, the more readily available pancetta is used in place of guanciale. And a pepper mill is essential for the right grind of black pepper.
- 1 tablespoon Filippo Berio olive oil
- 4 ounce chunk pancetta, diced
- 1/2 pound spaghetti
- 3 large eggs at room temperature and lightly beaten
- 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- Good grinding coarse black pepper
- Salt to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan and stir in the pancetta. Cook until crispy. Set aside and keep warm.
- Cook the spaghetti until it is al dente, in 4 quarts of rapidly boiling, salted water. Al dente means still firm but no uncooked flour is visible when a strand of spaghetti is broken in half.
- Drain the spaghetti in a colander, and save 6 tablespoons of the water. Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved water to the sauté pan with the spaghetti and toss well for a few minutes over low heat to get the spaghetti really hot. Remove the pan from the stovetop and rapidly stir in the beaten eggs, 2 more tablespoons of the reserved water, and half the cheese. Combine well. If the spaghetti seems dry, add the last 2 tablespoons of the cooking water.
- Add the reserved pancetta and any drippings. Stir well. Add a good grinding of the pepper. Add salt if needed. Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Serve immediately.
This recipe was featured on Season 20 - Episode 2007.