Pasta alla Carbonara is an Italian pride, known and loved all around the world.
This is a typical Roman recipe, a pillar of this culinary tradition… but only a few know that its history is quite recent.
The history of Carbonara
At the beginning of XX century – let’s say till almost the half of the century – nobody knew about Carbonara, it simply didn’t exist. Anyway, despite its recent history, its origins are not clear.
There are a lot of different suppositions, but almost everyone agrees that the main contribution to the creation of Carbonara was given by the american soldiers who fought in Italy during the WWII.
According to some, the soldiers putted together the eggs and the bacon that were part of their daily ration to cook the pasta; it seems that these two ingredients reminded them of their home.
The name Carbonara, for the people supporting this thesis, come from the colour that the pasta took after the great amount of pepper that was putted on it (in italian, it derives from the word “carbone” that means coal).
According to others, carbonara came from the typical recipe from Lazio “cacio e ova” – made with grated cheese and eggs- widespread thanks to the coalmen (from them the Carbonara would take its name). Even in this case, the new recipe would spread in war time thanks to the soldiers.
In both of these cases, the recipe had a very fast circulation and reached Rome, where it had a lot of success, even because the ingredients were easy to find.
It is a very simple recipe, therefore, there are a few variants during the preparation (for example, someone puts the pepper and someone not, someone put one yolk for each person, someone adds a whole eggs…). Here there is the most popular recipe in Italy.
Ah, a few words to explain you what guanciale is: it is an italian cured meat, made from pork jowl or cheeks; in fact, its name derives from “guancia”, the italian word for cheek.
[mv_create key=”16″ thumbnail=”https://eatalianrecipes.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Immagine-2022-11-28-210413.jpg” title=”How to Prepare a Perfect CARBONARA PASTA” type=”recipe”]
NOW I WILL TELL YOU WHAT IT IS FORBIDDEN TO DO WITH THE CARBONARA:
– Forbidden to use “panna” 👊
– Forbidden to overcook the pasta 👎
– Forbidden to use bacon ❌
– Forbidden to add parsley, peas or other intruding ingredients 😭
– Forbidden to cook the egg 🍳
– It is forbidden to use pasta shapes such as “farfalle”, “penne” or other similar ones 🤦🏼♂️
Another delicious option is Artichoke Carbonara – check out that recipe here
** WHAT IS GUANCIALE?
Taken from the cheek of a pig, guanciale is a rich, fatty piece of meat that often gets cured before it’s used.
Guanciale is mainly found in Italian pasta dishes from central Italy in areas such as Umbria and Lazio.
Two of the most common or well-known dishes that feature guanciale include spaghetti alla carbonara and amatriciana, which both include some of the meat in the sauce.
The flavor of the guanciale permeates each bite and gives the sauce an umami richness and a bit of a salty, velvety backbone.
Though pork cheeks can be obtained raw, most guanciale is cured.
How to Cook Guanciale
Dice up or throw a thin slice of guanciale on the frying pan and let it simmer in its own fat, crisping the bit of meat available.
From there either cool or add the hot chunks to a salad, mixed with eggs, on top of pizza or in any food that could use a punch of pork flavor. If sliced, the cooked guanciale tastes great in a sandwich or even served as a side with vegetables and crusty bread.
Since it’s cured, the meat doesn’t have to be cooked.
Try it cold and sliced thin on a charcuterie board, sandwich, over greens, and wrapped around vegetables that then get grilled.
The meat can add a lot of flavor to any dish without weighing it down, and, since it’s high in fat and rich in taste, a large amount isn’t needed.
That’s why guanciale often gets mixed with pasta and sauces.