If you’ve never had pasta carbonara, all you need to know is that it involves bacon, eggs, lots of cheese, and that it’s ridiculously simple to make. Keep in mind that it’s a classic Roman dish, which makes opening a bottle (or three) of red wine non-negotiable.
¼ pound guanciale or pancetta, cut into ⅓-inch cubes
7 large egg yolks (yes, 7)
1 large egg
1 pound spaghetti
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup freshly grated Pecorino, plus more for garnish
5. First, separate all those eggs.
Save the whites in the freezer — labeled and dated — for up to one year. They will come in handy for coconut meringues or this almond rice pudding. If you save each individual white by using an ice cube tray then transfer them a plastic bag once solid, you are going to feel like a total genius.
6. 15 minutes before you want to eat, start cooking.
Set a pot of salted water on the stove to boil. Then, brown your guanciale in a heavy skillet, and reserve the drippings. Add pasta to boiling water, and while it cooks, crack your egg and add the yolks to your serving bowl and whisk them.
7. Add the guanciale to the egg yolks.
If you are serving this for a dinner party and your guests are getting restless, throw a couple pieces of bacon at them. Then get back to work.
8. Then, the pasta.
Add al dente pasta to the bowl, reserving some of the pasta water.
9. Add 2 tablespoons of pasta water and 1 teaspoon guanciale drippings.
These will help the sauce coat and adhere to the pasta.
11. This is important: Gradually add the Pecorino, stirring and tossing to melt between batches.
13. Eat straight from the bowl with tongs.
If you’re having a dinner party, assume your guests are way too full of all the cured meats, ricotta, and bread you set out, so you can have all the pasta to yourself.