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Spaghetti alla Carbonara: A recipe with a lot of history

June 18, 2021

Espaguetis a la Carbonara: Un receta con mucha historia

There is no gastronomy that can boast more of having a worldwide fame than the Italian one. Pizzas, pastas, desserts and meats make up some of the most acclaimed specialties of the Italian diet. Some of its flavors based on oregano, garlic and tomato sauce manage to teleport us and make us feel as if we were having dinner in front of the Colosseum itself or as if we were tossing a coin in front of the Fontana di Trevi, you know, that's why they say that if you throw a coin into the fountain you'll be sure to return to Rome, and honestly, is there anyone who doesn't want to go back to 'the eternal city'?

Espaguetis a la carbonara

If you plan to take a trip to Italy, but more specifically to Rome, make sure you make a good choice of the places where you eat. Remember that you are in a very touristy city, and that it will surely have so many visitors again when the current situation improves a bit. For this reason, we recommend that instead of choosing 'ristorantes' (totally designed for tourists) you opt for 'trattorias' which are much more traditional and undoubtedly more homemade and traditional products, which quickly translates into higher quality and an undoubtedly more appropriate price.

In addition, you can ask for the typical sauces! made with the original recipe such as the Bolognese, but above all the carbonara of which so many versions have been invented wherever it is known.

The origin of this delicious dish!

If something is clear about 'Pasta alla carbonara', it is that there is not a single legend that tells us about its origin, but rather that over time there have been many stories that have been told about its invention.

One of the most widespread stories, and which in turn is the one that bothers the Italians themselves the most, is that this famous recipe was actually invented in the United States, since before 1944 this sauce did not exist, according to the renowned archaeologist and gastronomy historian Emilio Dente Fieracci. Undoubtedly, the Romans who consider themselves the true creators are not at all happy with this theory that nevertheless rings true, since in the Bible of Roman Cuisine that the author Ada Boni created in 1930 there is no trace of this popular dip.

Origen de la Carbonara

Another of its origins is attributed to a cook from Rome, who, with the arrival of the English troops and his special ingredients (eggs and bacon), would decide to invent a sauce take them home, but with an enhanced flavor thanks to the cheese and pepper. That the carbonara is an evolution of the 'cacio e ova' (cheese and eggs) is another of the theories that are handled, since this was the pasta that the charcoal burners ate after going to the forest to make coal.

Finally, the last theory, and perhaps the most credible, is that this pasta is called carbonara, due to the resemblance it had to coal, thanks to the large amount of pepper it contained and which made the pasta practically black.

But as with all traditions, many times the passage of time and the immersion of some cultures in others cause some customs to be lost or modified once they reach other countries and cultures, as has happened with this sauce, in which the use of cream to thicken it has undoubtedly become world famous. We cannot say that it is not good this way, but it is not the correct way to do it, for this very reason, today we bring you the original recipe for spaghetti Carbonara, the traditional one and the one you will find on your trips to the Mediterranean country.

Ingredients for your pasta carbonara

Ingredientes espaguetis a la carbonara

For two people you should use:

  • 170 gr of pasta
  • 100 gr of bacon or Bacon
  • 50 gr of cheese pecorino or Parmesan
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Exit
  • Ground black pepper to taste

Before starting to prepare your pasta carbonara, keep in mind that it is a recipe that will take you a short time, around 20 minutes, and that it is very easy, but requires knowledge so that it is possible that the first time you do it, it will not fit as you would like, so you will have to practice and practice until it comes out, so now you know! It is the perfect excuse to eat this delicious dish as many times as you want.

1. Cook the pasta

The first thing you should do is bring a pot of water to a boil, in which you will later put the pasta. While the water boils, we will go on to make the sauce. It is very important that you do the steps mentioned above in the same order, since the preparation of the carbonara sauce is quite fast.

2. The bacon and the bacon in the pan!

The second step to take is to cut the bacon or bacon into strips -some people cut it into small squares- and brown them in a frying pan. An important note, to toast the bacon do not add oil to the pan, since it releases a fat with which it cooks perfectly. Otherwise, you would be adding unnecessary fat to the dish, not only because you will end up with excess oil, but also to make the recipe as healthy as possible.

3. Now the base

Thirdly, we put the egg yolks that we have selected in a bowl and mix them with the cheese as best as possible, since this is going to be the base of our carbonara sauce. To this mixture we add a pinch of salt and pepper.

4. Do you remember the pasta? That's it!

When we have this mixture, we reserve it until the bacon has browned and the pasta is ready. Once the pasta water has boiled, add the pasta you want, although the traditional recipe recommends that it be spaghetti. When the pasta is cooked to your own taste. We remove the water, but we reserve a tablespoon of that water that we will use later.

5. Plated and don't let it cool down.

Once we have done this and before the pasta cools, we pour the egg and cheese mixture into the spaghetti and mix until it is well combined so that it cooks with the heat of the pasta. When we have this mixture made, we add the bacon that we had reserved and as a final touch, we sprinkle with a little more cheese and pepper to our liking.

Once in Rome.

Donde comer espaguetis a la carbonara en Roma

That said, although being able to prepare some spaghetti carbonara whenever you want is a real pleasure, here is a small list of the best places in Rome to enjoy this gastronomic pleasure.

  • Carlo Menta

If you are traveling in the Italian capital, we strongly recommend that you visit Trastevere, an area known for its special nightlife where tourists and natives mix. Also, if you are in the neighborhood, you will want to visit the Ristorante Carlo Menta, so traditional and traditional that the Romans themselves have it as a reference site. You will be able to find pizzas and pastas, and without a doubt the carbonara pasta for which you will only pay 4 euros should be your choice. And calm down! We assure you that in this case cheap is not expensive.

  • Osteria da Fortunata

Located in the Campo di Fiori area, Osteria da Fortunata has a great reputation that precedes it due to the pasta with which they serve this sauce, since they make it themselves and is called strozzapreti.The most characteristic? The pasta is very al dente and the pancetta they use is very thick. Quite a culinary experience!

  • Pasta Chef

If a visit to the Colosseum is on your itinerary, then you're in luck, as Pasta Chef is very close to it. It is a much cheaper and faster option than the average in the city. Much visited by Italians in the area, this site does not have tables, but bars and high chairs to eat at the moment. Although it is undoubtedly a transit site, it is still a benchmark for Roman food.

We hope this article has been useful to you and that, thanks to it, you are encouraged to prepare your own spaghetti carbonara and become a fan of the traditional recipe. You see how easy it is!

Espaguetis a la carbonara

Frequently asked questions about spaghetti carbonara

Where was carbonara sauce actually invented?

There are many legends about carbonara sauce and its invention. The most widespread is that it was originally created in the United States during World War II, since, according to the books, before 1944 there was no record of this sauce. Another of the great stories, and one of the most reliable, is that it bears this name, since at first the pasta was reminiscent of coal due to all the pepper it contained to the point of being almost black.

Does carbonara sauce have cream in it?

Carbonara has undergone a great evolution since it was created, and for this reason it is common to see that its preparation is often carried out with other ingredients such as cream, onion and mushrooms. However, this is not the authentic recipe, as it really only calls for egg, cheese, bacon and pepper.

What is the best pasta to accompany carbonara sauce?

Although there is no general rule on this, according to Italians, the best pasta to accompany this sauce is long, preferably spaghetti.

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