When we moved to Rome when I was 8 years old, pasta carbonara is what my brother and I ate. It was also the first thing I taught myself to cook in college, when I’d make it with bacon and and Cheddar cheese. Today it remains one of my most comforting, memory-filled dishes. The cooking and ingredients are easy, but getting the eggs the right creamy consistency can be difficult. Do not cheat and add cream. Also, I recommend using local pastured eggs from your farmers market for this dish. —Sara Jenkins
4 as main course or 6 as pasta course
flat pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice
extra-virgin olive oil
freshly grated Pecorino Romano
freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
freshly cracked black pepper
In This Recipe
In a medium skillet, cook the pancetta and oil over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the pancetta is browned and the fat has rendered, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, Pecorino, Parmesan, and pepper. Bring a pot of salted water to boil; cook pasta until al dente, drain, and immediately toss with the egg mixture. Add the pancetta along with its rendered fat, toss well, and serve immediately with extra pepper, if desired.
If the heat of the cooked pasta does not quite set the eggs, you can gently toss it again over very low heat in the pan you cooked the pancetta in. But stir continuously and make sure the heat is as low as it can go so that you don’t wind up with scrambled eggs.