One of the joys of writing about food and preparing meals is that I get to meet great chefs and producers.
As I've shared in the past, we eat very little meat these days, but when we do it's choice grade and pasture reared. My friend Richard Bosman produces amazing charcuterie, one of which is guanciale, made from pigs cheek, incredible fatty, but when cooked into crunchy bite sized treats, is one of the key ingredients in preparing a proper Italian carbonara.
Many Western restaurants have taken liberties with this age old dish with the inclusion of onion, chicken, mushroom and cream, but today I'm going to teach you how to prepare an authentic version of this dish.
- 7 oz guanciale (sliced into 1/4 strips)
- 12 2/3 oz spaghetti
- 2 whole eggs and one yoke (whisked)
- 2 3/4 ounces of Parmesan (grated)
- Olive oil
Step 1: Place a medium sized pan on a medium-high heat, add the gunciale and cook off the excess fat, draining it into a small bowl as you go. Cook the pork until crispy, 8-10mins, place a piece of paper towel on a plate, then transfer the gunciale to the plate, put it to one side.
Step 2: Rinse the pan, fill it with water and return it to the heat, bringing it to the boil, add a pinch of salt and olive oil and spaghetti, then cook as per packet instructions, usually 8-10 minutes.
Step 3: Drain the pasta, reserving a cup of the starchy water (adding some back if the mix it too thick), take the pan off the heat, add the pasta and beat in the eggs and 3/4 of the Parmesan.
Step 4: Plate up the pasta, top with the gunciale, a crack of pepper and remaining Parmesan.