It is surprising to discover how carbonara pasta was born, a formula with its roots in World War II and motivated by the boredom of British troops, tired of eating fried eggs every day with bacon
Carbonara sauce is one of the most internationally known Italian recipes. First of all, we should make a nuance: although everyone is the cream the first thing that comes to mind when talking about carbonara, is considered almost a crime for traditional Italian cuisine.
The original recipe used eggs, black pepper and lard as ingredients, as well as butter or olive oil to bind a sauce that did not have cream. The black pepper resembled the charcoal with which they worked the term “Carbonara”
The origin of the recipe is in The Apennines, an area of northern Italy where mining activity was really important. For that reason, due to the fact that it was the charcoal makers who mainly drank pasta dishes that should be served as soon as they were cooked so that the egg did not curdle, they received that name.
In addition, there are those who also point out that the black pepper that was sprinkled on those plates was a kind of homage to charcoal, so perhaps the name of ‘carbonara’ could be due to the appearance of this recipe.
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But the recipe had a twist in 1944, in the middle of the Second World War. The British and American troops fought tirelessly against the German army. In the middle of the rationing period, it was only the eggs and the bacon, the foods that abounded in the kitchens of these soldiers.
The story goes that one day, bored with breakfast every day fried eggs with bacon, they went to a house to prepare a new recipe with those ingredients. As in Italy, any self-respecting dish must have pasta, they prepared a dish with spaghetti al dente with beaten eggs, garlic and small pieces of bacon that topped a dish that quickly conquered the troops.
With the passage of time, the recipe has evolved. Cream, a more popular ingredient in the carbonara outside Italy than within its borders, we must add the onion, very common today in these pasta dishes.
Spaghetti a la carbonara: 4 atrocious mistakes that we usually commit when cooking carbonara
The spaghetti a la carbonara is the Italian recipe that most misconceptions around the world. And it is the most widespread form of Italian cuisine and, possibly, the one that has travelled the most around the world, but it is also the most abused.
This summer, for example, the British Jamie Oliver, the chef of the “paella con chorizo”, talks about the Italians trying to cover this dish with its peculiar “tart” of spaghetti alla carbonara. In Australia we are not short with atrocities: there are those who have added cream, milk or even a parsley to the Roman recipe. But to be able to call your real name, you have to take these errors into account.
- Mating the pasta
Nobody knows better than the first mistake that people around the world make with this dish is as simple as not cooking pasta well. This is the abuse, we do not respect their cooking or service times, nor the same sensitivity that Italians have with this issue for education.
Just add the pasta to the salted water when it is boiling and following the cooking times marked by the package instructions. Do not put “a leaf of laurel, or olive oil, the secret to leave pasta al dente is not throwing it to the wall, that is a real nonsense To know if they are al dente you just have to take one out of the pot, bite it and see if there is a white dot left in. If it is all yellow, with a uniform colour, it means that the cooking is over.
For the authentic recipe of the spaghetti carbonara, as the name has already been indicated, it is necessary spaghetti, “not any pasta”, it should be one of good quality.
- Thinking that bacon is an ingredient
Much more widespread than the mistakes of adding cream or milk to spaghetti carbonara is adding bacon to the recipe. “This is the case”.
The meat that is added to this Italian dish must be cured so that at the same time it is crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. You also have to cut the small squares centimetre by a centimetre. The fat in every piece should melt when you are cooking it.
- Bundling with the proportions
The authentic recipe for spaghetti carbonara also contains egg yolk, a teaspoon of pecorino cheese (it can be substituted for a very cured sheep cheese as an alternative if it is very difficult to find) and ground black pepper to make the sauce. For this reason, it is called carbonara, because it should be black like coal. Recall that ‘carbonara’ comes from ‘carbonari’, the nineteenth-century Italian revolutionary movement that hid furtively in the mountains to which the origin of the recipe is attributed.
There are also those who add a drop of white wine to the recipe, although among the Romans there is still no consensus because in some houses it is made and in others it is not. But let us return to the subject of the proportions of the ingredients of the sauce, the Italian chefs recommend to be very careful: the correct thing is to put two egg yolks per 100 grams of pasta and if we can use a different bowl to emulsify each serving of pasta in the sauce much better, because that way the yolk will be less dry .
- Turning the pasta into an omelette or an egg soup
We have strained and drained the pasta and we have sautéed it in the pan next to the previously cooked pork jowl; we also have our sauce ready. What do we do now? The most complicated step arrives, the emulsion, because if the pasta is at a high temperature when the sauce is added, the egg cooks right away and our plate can end up like a spaghetti omelette. Or as an egg and cheese soup, if on the contrary, the pasta is too cold.
The key is to emulsify both parts of the recipe in a bowl that is metallic and stir very quickly so that the sauce diffuses well without risking the egg drying. It’s the trick so that our spaghetti carbonara juicy.
Remember that if you want to try excellent Italian food at an authentic Italian restaurant in Australia, you must visit Fernando’s Italian.