International Carbonara Day is a relatively new Foodie Holiday. It was launched on April 6, 2017 by two trade associations; the Italian Association of confectionery and Pasta Industries (AIDEPI) and the International Pasta Organization (IPO).
The goal was two-folds. First to celebrate Italy’s Spaghetti Carbonara, one of the more famous pasta dishes. The other was to spark a conversation in social media about the different approaches to Carbonara beyond the classic one. A traditional Spaghetti Carbonara is pasta, egg, cheese and some sort of pork such as bacon, Pancetta or Pork Tongue. Yeah, I’ve never had that, not sure I want to start now. The final ingredients in the classic rendition are salt and a heavy seasoning of pepper.
The purists will tell you it’s the tongue, and the cheese must be Pecorino, a hard sheep cheese. No other oils, garlic is a sin, and only the yolk of an egg is permitted. It’s a Carbonara, not an omelette they will insist. Now even the purists will tolerate pancetta or bacon, if you live in the American Midwest or Siberia. Hum, wonder what’s implied there.
I will tell you that once, during Lent, I thought I would try this by using a blend of bacon drippings and butter in the sauce, omitting the diced bacon completely. As a southern cook at heart, I always have bacon fat in the refrigerator. While it had good flavor, the bits of meat definitely bring something to the table that is a necessary component of the dish.
This is my classic American rendition of Spaghetti Carbonara. Enjoy!
1 lb Spaghetti
5 Eggs Yolks
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
Milk as needed
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher Salt as needed
Fresh Black Pepper as needed
6 strips Bacon
1 tablespoon Butter
1/4 cup Italian Parsley, chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan-Romano Cheese Blend
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta al dente, about 10 minutes. While the pasta cooks, prepare the sauce.
Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Save the whites for another purpose. Beat the egg yolks in a 2 cup glass measuring cup. Add the cream, then fill the rest of the way with milk as needed, stir well. Add a pinch of salt and a few good cranks of fresh black pepper. Set aside.
Dice the bacon. Fry the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from the skillet with a slotted spoon to a paper towel to drain, retain the hot grease.
Drain the pasta in a colander. Once drained, place pasta put back in the same pot and back on the burner, over the lowest heat possible (just warm.)
Melt butter into the bacon drippings, gently warm. While the butter melts, chop the parsley and set aside.
Pour the egg mixture over the hot pasta. Quickly pour the bacon renderings with butter over the pasta. Pull the pasta through the sauce, coating everything well.
Add the bacon and half of cheese, stir well to combine.
Transfer to warm bowls. Season with a little more cracked pepper. Garnish with remaining cheese and some chopped parsley.