Marcella Hazans Spaghetti Carbonara

by Hilary Gauntt on October 18, 2016

This was the most requested dinner of my husband and son for many years. So after a stressful couple of weeks I wasn’t surprised when Casey asked for this favorite comfort food meal. Marcella Hazan was one of the foremost authorities on Italian cuisine, and I always liked her lighter Roman version that contains no cream.

The story goes that during the last days of WWII, American soldiers in Rome who had made friends with local families would bring them bacon and eggs; and they in turn created a pasta sauce to feed them. “Carbonara” means coal which perhaps refers to the black pepper that is a key ingredient.

This is just really crazy delicious and Marcella’s step of deglazing the pan with wine adds an extra layer of flavor.

As Federico Fellini explains, “Life is a combination of magic and pasta!”

Salt as needed

1/2 pound pancetta cut in 1/2 ” slices (or good slab bacon)

4 garlic cloves

3 Tbs. olive oil

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 1/4 pounds spaghetti

2 eggs

1/2 ounce Romano (or Pecorino) cheese, freshly grated

2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 Tbs. chopped parsley

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile cut the pancetta or bacon into strips 1/4″ wide. Lightly mash the garlic with a knife handle, enough to split the cloves and loosen the skin; discard the skin. Place the garlic and olive oil in a skillet and turn the heat to medium high. When the garlic turns a deep gold, about 2 minutes, remove it and discard.

Place the strips of pancetta or bacon in the pan and cook until they begin to crisp at the edges, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and let it bubble away for one or two minutes, then turn the heat off.

Add the spaghetti to the boiling water, and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain.

Break the eggs into the serving bowl in which you’ll be tossing the pasta. Beat them lightly with a fork,then add the Romano and Parmigiano-Reggiano, a liberal grinding of black pepper and the chopped parsley. Mix thoroughly.

Add the hot spaghetti to the bowl and toss rapidly, coating the strands well.( The heat from the pasta will cook the eggs) Briefly reheat the pancetta over high heat, and turn the entire contents of the pan into the bowl of spaghetti and toss thoroughly again. Finish with a little extra cheese and garnish with parsley. Serve at once. Six servings.

Note: Garlic lover that I am, instead of removing it I instead add chopped garlic at the end of cooking the pancetta right before adding the wine and leave it in. An extra egg yolk isn’t a bad idea either.


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