When you’re craving a comfort food, nothing—I repeat, NOTHING—will cure you like creamy carbonara. Here’s everything to remember:
YOUR PASTA WATER SHOULD TASTE LIKE THE OCEAN.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when cooking pasta is that they don’t season their pot of water nearly enough. Don’t just add a little pinch, if you’re cooking a full pound of pasta, add a full tablespoon. This will make your spaghetti (or fettuccine or whatever you’re using) actually taste like something.
SAVE SOME PASTA WATER.
You might need to loosen your sauce later on, you might not. Just in case, save some starchy cooking water. If after you add the eggs and Parm, it doesn’t seem creamy enough, gradually stir in some cooking water.
YOU DON’T NEED CREAM.
To make an authentic carbonara sauce, you need eggs and Parmesan. I repeat, YOU DO NOT NEED HEAVY CREAM. As much as we love cream, it’ll just overpower everything. The combination of eggs + Parm, whisked together, make a creamy, silky as hell sauce already.
TOSS THE PASTA IN THE BACON FAT.
Once you cook the bacon (or pancetta), keep all the fat in the pan and toss your pasta in it. You want ever piece of spaghetti to have a touch of smokiness.
TURN OFF THE HEAT WHEN YOU ADD THE EGGS.
After tossing the pasta in the bacon fat, remove your skillet from the heat and stir in the egg and Parmesan mixture. And stir vigorously! The eggs will cook from the residual heat of the pan, the bacon fat, and the hot pasta. If you keep the skillet over the stovetop, you risk scrambling your eggs.
large eggs1 c.
freshly grated Parmesan8
cloves garlic, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil (optional), for garnish
Flaky sea salt (optional), for garnish
Freshly chopped parsley, for garnish
- In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook spaghetti according to package directions until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water.
- In a medium bowl, whisk eggs and Parmesan until combined.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy, about 8 minutes. Reserve fat in skillet and transfer slices to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
- To the same skillet, add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minutes. Add cooked spaghetti and toss until fully coated in bacon fat. Remove from heat. Pour over egg and cheese mixture and stir vigorously until creamy (be careful not to scramble eggs). Add pasta water a couple tablespoons a time to loosen sauce if necessary.
- Season generously with salt and pepper and stir in cooked bacon.
- Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with flaky sea salt, Parmesan, and parsley before serving.