Roscioli’s carbonara

Roscioli’s carbonara

Carbonara di roscioli

By
From
Rome
Serves
4
Photographer
Helen Cathcart

I have eaten a lot of carbonara in Rome in the name of perfecting this recipe, so I hope my larger dress size is worth it! Some have been too cloying, others are bland, a few tasted of cinnamon (a coating used on some cured meats) and many are served with chewy guanciale, the cured, fatty pork cheek that gives this dish its flavour. The best carbonara in Rome that we found was at Roscioli followed by a close second at Felice in Testaccio. It might be because it’s a deli and restaurant that Roscioli have the best guanciale – they use unusual crushed peppercorns and bright yellow eggs from corn-fed chickens – but I think it’s in their cooking.

Equally perfect bowls of this famous pasta can be made at home with pancetta or good-quality streaky bacon, thickly sliced from a good butcher. Make sure it is fatty and for extra flavour use a tablespoon of rendered pork fat. Alessandro Roscioli uses an iron frying pan to crisp up the cubes of guanciale so that they are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside; they become like the best pork scratchings you have ever munched on, all combined with pasta in a peppery cheese coating. Incidentally, carbonara is named after the carbonari: the charcoal men who fed themselves on the cured meat, cheese and pasta they carried with them into the forest. Presumably black specks of charcoal gave it extra flavour although now they are replaced with pepper.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
250g guanciale, or unsmoked rindless pancetta or streaky bacon
1 tablespoon pork fat or olive oil
320g spaghetti
4 large egg yolks
1 large egg white
good pinch salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground sarawak, sichuan or black pepper
200g pecorino romano or parmigiano reggiano, finely grated

Method

  1. Cut the guanciale or bacon into 1 cm cubes. Put them into a frying pan with the fat, if using (if you are using guanciale you won’t need any extra fat), over a low heat for around 15–20 minutes or until each piece crisps up and releases its fat. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. Cook the spaghetti in a large pan of well-salted boiling water until al dente. While the pasta is cooking, beat the egg yolks and white together in a large bowl. Add the salt, pepper and 150 g of the cheese. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it into a colander and using tongs add it in 4 batches to the egg mixture, tossing it together to combine. Adding it a little at a time will prevent the eggs from scrambling. Finally, tip the bacon and fat into the bowl and toss again. Serve straight away in hot bowls scattered with the remaining cheese. Tell your guests to eat it up as soon as they get it. As Giancarlo says, ‘Pasta waits for no man.’
Tags:
Back to top
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again