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Pasta alla Carbonara

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INGREDIENTS

I often am asked for classic Italian recipes. Few things are more classic Italian than a carbonara style pasta and in fact, it is believed this dish originated in Rome. Typically, pasta carbonara features spaghetti but I like the shape and texture of linguine with the creamy, rich sauce. I hope you enjoy this very Italian dish.

1 pound pancetta, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
3 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 pound dried linguine or spaghetti
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat a large sauté pan, until hot. Add pancetta and sauté until golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. Season with black pepper and remove pan from heat. Lower the heat and sauté garlic in the same pan, until golden, taking care not to burn, add to pancetta.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and cream. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in Parmesan, reserving 2 tablespoons of Parmesan for garnish.
In a large pot, boil 6 quarts of salted water. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta in a colander but do not rinse the pasta with water. While the pasta is still hot, return it back to the pot. Add the browned pancetta & garlic and toss well. Add the cream mixture and coat the pasta completely. It’s important to work quickly while the pasta is still warm so that the egg mixture will cook, but not scramble. Add remaining Parmesan and chopped parsley. Enjoy!
Chef’s Tip: The reason you don’t want to rinse the pasta is that you want the pasta to retain its natural starches, which will allow the sauce to adhere to it.
Bettina Tolin is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin, Texas. She has cooked in the kitchens of the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island, Florida. She is currently the Executive Chef and General Manager at Marcello’s Italian Restaurant and Bar in Port Isabel, Texas.
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