Carbonara: The Italian Way

A plate of spaghetti with bacon and parmesan.

Why doesnt your carbonara turn out the same as the one you had in Italy?

Ah… carbonara—the classic dish for Italians. Easy to prepare? Not at all. Trust me; I had to make it over and over again before I perfected the true” carbonara. 

Here are a few tricks to make it perfect.

Carbonara should be moist and creamy

Does your carbonara look like scrambled eggs? If so, something has gone wrong.

A plate of spaghetti with bacon and parmesan.
A plate of spaghetti with bacon and parmesan.

Look at a perfect carbonara: a creamy yellowish sauce evenly coating the pasta. Freshly ground pepper enriches the egg cream along with gently fried pancetta or thick-cut bacon.

What has gone wrong?

If your carbonara doesn’t turn out smooth and creamy, and you want the perfect carbonara, learn my recipe step by step.  

Here are the reasons why your carbonara went wrong 

You have poured the beaten eggs into the warm pan. You should do it like this; put the hot pasta into a bowl and then toss it. This is the only way to keep the temperature under control and stop the cooking process. Cook the pasta according to the traditional method; when the pasta is al dente, or slightly hard, use a spotted spoon or tongs to move it into a bowl to keep it hydrated. Reserve some pasta water in case the sauce gets too thick; 

  • Are the quantities of egg to pasta right? Too much pasta, too few egg yolks? If so, add one more yolk. 
  • Has the egg sauce turned out too compact? You may have used whole eggs; in Italy this is a never-ending question: only yolks or whole eggs?
  • You have used store-bought, grated Pecorino cheese, so it doesn’t melt properly. Only use freshly grated cheese, which is much better; 
A plate of spaghetti with bacon and parmesan.
  • You have added cream, but you shouldn’t have. This is a cardinal rule: Do not use cream,
  • Have you reheated the carbonara leftovers? You shouldnt have. Fresh carbonara is tastier served fresh. Any heating methods, from the microwave to the pan, make even the most perfect egg sauce lumpy. 

Making carbonara may seem easy, but if you stick to a few of the tricks that I have written here you wont get it wrong! Are you ready? Hope you like it, and please let me know how it turned out. 

A plate of spaghetti with bacon and bread on a marble table.

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