Saturday, September 14, 2013

Recipe: Spaghetti Carbonara

Based on the recipe from the March 2013 Cook's Illustrated. Read the story behind this dish in Sunday, Dinner for TwoServes 6.


8 slices bacon
½ cup water
3 cloves garlic
2½ ounces Pecorino Romano 
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon table salt
1 pound spaghetti


  1. Cut the bacon into ½-inch pieces.
  2. Press the garlic through a garlic press or peel and mince it.
  3. Grate the Pecorino Romano, you should end up with about 1¼ cups of grated cheese.
  4. Break the eggs into a bowl, discarding the white of one of the eggs.
  5. In a skillet over medium heat, bring the bacon and water to a simmer.
  6. Cook until the water has evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium low.
  7. Cook with occasional stirring until the fat has rendered from the bacon, 5 to 10 minutes.
  8. Add the garlic and stir, cooking until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  9. With a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl, strain the bacon; set aside the bacon.
  10. Put 1 tablespoon of bacon fat in a medium bowl and whisk in the Pecorino Romano, eggs, and pepper.
  11. In a Dutch oven or large sauce pan, bring 8 cups of water to boil.
  12. Add the spaghetti and salt and cook until al dente.
  13. Drain the spaghetti in a colander set in a large bowl.
  14. Set aside 1 cup of the cooking water, discard the rest, and add the spaghetti to the warm bowl. (You can use the leftover cooking water to warm the serving bowls.)
  15. Slowly whisk ½ cup of the cooking water into the cheese mixture.
  16. Pour the cheese mixture over the spaghetti and toss to coat the pasta.
  17. Add the bacon mixture and toss to combine.
  18. Let the spaghetti rest for a few minutes, with frequent tossing, until the sauce has thickened. If it is too thick, add some of the reserved cooking liquid.
  19. Serve immediately.
Assemble ingredients (clockwise): spaghetti, 3 eggs plus one yolk, water, black pepper, table salt, pressed garlic, grated Pecorino Romano, chopped bacon.
Cook bacon with water until evaporated, continue until fat is rendered, add garlic and cook until fragrant.
Strain the fat from the bacon and move one tablespoon of fat to a bowl.
Whisk the Pecorino, eggs, and pepper into the bacon fat.

Cook the pasta in two quarts water until al dente and strain, reserving the liquid.
Stir ½ cup of the reserved cooking water into the cheese mixture, then toss with the pasta and add the bacon mixture. Rest the spaghetti until the sauce thickens, adding more cooking liquid if needed.

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