Now very much a firm favourite among the Pasta Evangelists Community, and one of our signature dishes, the name for this hedonistic Roman classic is thought to have been derived from when charcoal burners (carbonai) used to cook the dish over campfires. In true Pasta Evangelists style, we’ve taken this classic, comforting dish to new heights, presenting a gloriously creamy carbonara recipe in which our tangles of fresh bucatini – bigger, chewier and better rather than the often favoured spaghetti, sop up this luxuriant sauce. As past experience has taught us, sedanini – macaroni's larger cousin – also work well here. In fact, we’re not really sure how spaghetti carbonara came to be the most classic interpretation of this dish, for as we’ve discovered, it’s by no means the best. However, we’ll leave that discussion for another time…
Made with premium pancetta, known for its deep, salty intensity, our carbonara sauce also contains egg yolk, freshly ground black pepper and decadent Parmigiano Reggiano. We also add cream, which although a contentious issue, we believe it’s what makes our carbonara that extra bit, well, creamy. And who could resist such temptation?
Our bucatini carbonara recipe
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Calories per serving: 973 kcal
- 500g Fresh Bucatini or Sedanini
For the carbonara sauce
- 4 egg yolks
- 175ml single cream
- ⅔ cup (85g) of Parmigiano Reggiano
- Black pepper
- 75g pancetta
- Crack the egg yolks into a bowl, add the cream, finely grate in the Parmigiano Reggiano and season with black pepper, then mix well. If you can, use chilled eggs here: cold yolks are easier to separate from the white.
- Add the pancetta to a large frying pan and sauté over medium-low heat until browned and crisp, around 5 minutes. Notice how we haven’t included ‘add oil’. The fat rendered by the pancetta provides more than enough.
- Cook the your chosen pasta in a large pan of generously salted boiling water for 3-4 minutes, or until ‘al dente’ (taste a piece before removing from the water).
- Once cooked, reserve 1/2 a cup of the boiling cooking water, and transfer the pasta to the frying pan with the pancetta. Toss well and then immediately remove the pan from heat.
- Now add the egg, cream and cheese mixture, tossing vigorously so the sauce clings to the pasta and doesn’t settle on the base of the pan. Add the pasta water, adjusting as necessary to obtain a silky smooth sauce that’s able to completely coat the pasta. Continue to toss vigorously and stir through with a large pair of tongs. The tongs work particularly well with long, strand pastas. It’s also incredibly satisfying watching each coated strand rise and fall, so this step is most definitely compulsory; cooking is meant to be fun, is it not?
- Finish with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano and a good grind of black pepper. Buon appetito!
Chef’s Tip: Be careful not to overcook the egg mixture. While scrambled eggs are great for brunch, they’re not what we’re after here.
Bucatini carbonara wine pairing recommendation
The creamy sweetness of the egg-enriched carbonara sauce contrasts with the salty intensity of the pancetta and the pungent black pepper. Because of this, we’d go for a wine with moderate acidity that can cut through the fatty richness without overpowering subtlety of the sauce. A safe bet here is a dry white wine from central Italy, where carbonara was born, like Trebbiano. That’s not to say red wines won’t work though, a bold Barolo would do an excellent job of balancing out the rich flavours.