Having had the opportunity to live in Tuscany in the small city of Siena, Italy I relished having the most amazing ingredients readily available to me. I was still learning my way around the kitchen then (now 4 years ago) and learned an overwhelming amount that year. We made lifelong friends who were born and raised in the city so I had the perfect opportunity to truly learn about what the city had to offer. Those friends taught me how to make several Tuscan dishes that are staples in our household today (Matt loves pasta, so I make it almost every night).
Carbonara is famous around the world and made in different variations. But the Tuscan (Roman) way of cooking it is quite simple and very addicting – a few bites are never enough. I learned to create it this way:
- pancetta (in cubes), or bacon bits
- olive oil
- 2 eggs
- freshly grated pecorino (or parmesan) cheese
- Minced garlic or garlic powder
- Do some prep work by grating fresh parmesan or pecorino cheese. You’ll need about 1.5 cups.
- I start by cooking the pancetta pieces with olive oil in a pan. Set aside. And keep the pan as is (with pancetta juices :)).
- Boil the water with salt and add a half box of spaghetti. Cook until al dente. DO NOT OVERCOOK THE PASTA. Overcooked pasta is THE WORST.
- Meanwhile, beat two eggs, 1/2 cup of milk, add black pepper, and I add some garlic powder.
- When the spaghetti is al dente, strain, and transfer to the pan you cooked the pancetta pieces in and toss around in the juices.
- On low heat, add the egg-milk mixture. Toss around. Warning: the eggs may curdle but lee tossing and mixing with the spaghetti until well incorporated.
- Slowly add the grated cheese.
- Serve immediately.
(Over the years I’ve learned to cook without measuring exact amounts, which is why some of my recipes (mostly go-to recipes) do not necessarily have exact measurements. I eye everything, but I’ll do my best moving forward to provide some sort of measurements in the future).