Carbonara is a magical dish. There is nothing, and I do mean nothing, more lovely than tucking in to a bowl of carbonara after a long and busy day. The creamy, thick sauce from the egg, Parmigiano Reggiano, and pasta water is so unique. Combine that with the smoky, peppery, and salty chew from the rendered guanciale. I mean, come on. I just don't think there is anything like it.
The Zelli Pasta Carbonara
As lovely and magical as carbonara is, I do not think there is a more "argued over" pasta dish! Everyone has opinions, and isn't that so true with most everything in life. What we make at Zelli Pasta differs greatly from the traditional and most loved spaghetti carbonara. We make our carbonara with our malfadine pasta!
I just love malfadine pasta. We make it fresh in our little pasta shop. We use our All Organic Durum Semolina and water to make the pasta. Malfadine is an extruded shape. It is a narrow ribboned shaped pasta that is just absolutely perfect for sauce to stick to! I love the wider pasta for our carbonara, and that's why we use it! Please don't hate us for using malfadine to make carbonara.
One of the things I love so much about Italian cooking is it is all about the quality of ingredients. Carbonara is no different. In fact, it's really only four ingredients, which means they have to be top notch to make them shine. Carbonara requires eggs, guanciale, parmigiano reggiano, and pasta. I usually mix some black pepper in there at the end, but our guanciale has a lot of pepper on it, so I don't need to add any extra.
Carbonara is a pretty easy dish to make. You really only have to be careful about not curdling the eggs. I use the bowl method, which works almost every time! While you are rendering your guanciale, mix your egg yolks and parmigiano reggiano in a bowl. Once your guanciale is done rendering, take it off the heat. Then, add about a tablespoon of the oil from the guanciale to your egg yolk and cheese mixture. This will loosen the egg and cheese mixture a bit as well as temper the eggs and keep it from curdling. Next, add a little bit of pasta water right before you add the pasta! The pasta water will help the mixture turn into a sauce. Once your sauce is ready, add your cooked pasta and guanciale. It's really that simple!
Malfadine - 270 Grams - (Not local? Try Rigatoni!)
Babette’s Table Guanciale - 50 Grams Sliced
Parmigiano Reggiano - 70 Grams
Egg Yolks - 2
Pasta Water - 1-2 Tablespoons
Kosher Salt For Pasta Water - 2 Handfuls
Olive Oil for rendering guanciale - 1 Tablespoon
Go ahead and fill a large pot with water. Then add a handful of coarse Kosher Salt. You want the pasta water nice and salty!
Render The Guanciale
Slice your guanciale into small strips.
Heat a small pan with a tablespoon of olive oil.
Render your guanciale in the pan over low-medium heat. You just want the guanciale to begin turn color and cook a little bit.
Take your pan off the heat once the guanciale is done, and set it aside. You’re gonna use some of that oil here in a minute!
Combine 70-80 grams of parmigiano reggiano and 2 egg yolks in a bowl.
Add a tablespoon of the oil from the guanciale to the mixture. Stir together to loosen the egg and cheese mixture. You don’t want it too saucy. It should still be a little thick but loose at the same time.
Make The Magic Happen
Add your malfadine to the boiling pasta water. Boil for 2-3 minutes
Ladel about 2 tablespoons of pasta water to your egg and cheese mixture and stir quickly. This will make a sauce, and it will temper the eggs so they won’t curdle!
Take your malfadine out of the water with tongs, and place directly into your sauce.
Add the guanciale to the pasta and sauce.
Stir to combine it all. You want to marry your pasta and sauce. The sauce should coat every inch of the pasta!
Plate directly from the bowl to a plate. Use your tongs to grab the pasta out of the bowl, and arrange on the center of your plate. You may need to use a spoon or fork to toss the guanciale on top of your pasta. Don’t worry about spooning any of the sauce left on the bottom of the bowl, unless you just really want to! There should be enough sauce coated on the pasta from when you married them together.
Grate some parmigiano reggiano on top of your pasta, and crack some pepper on top if you should choose to!
Sit back and enoy!