Pasta alla Carbonara is hands down my husbands favorite pasta dish so naturally I aim to master the technique and learn how to make it without turning it into pasta and scrambled eggs!
We learned how to make spaghetti carbonara in our cooking class in Italy and let me tell you- that was the best carbonara we have ever tasted. Our chef/instructor shared with us that traditional carbonara recipe doesn't use pancetta or bacon, they actually use guanciale which is pork cheek, yup you read that right! Guanciale is cured with salt and other spices, the flavor of the meat once you start cooking it is much stronger than pancetta or bacon. It is absolutely delicious!
Before we jump into the recipe I want to talk about good quality olive oil!
Extra Virgin Olive Oil vs Olive Oil?
100% Extra virgin olive oil (aka EVOO) is made by a mechanical process called cold press and remains in it's purest form with more potent flavors and aroma. EVOO is also darker in color when compared to olive oil and is stored/stored in dark glass vs clear glass or plastic bottles. Regular olive oil is refined and has a more mild flavor, little to no aroma and is lighter in color.
Health Benefits of EVOO
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is minimally processed which makes it a great fat source for cooking or drizzling over salad/veggies. Research supports health benefits such as decreased risk of heart disease, especially reduces risk of heart attacks, decreases inflammation in the body, and contains antioxidants.
Ways to use EVOO
I'm going to tell you all about how to use EVOO to make Pasta alla Carbonara but let me tell you some other ways you can cook with or use olive oil in recipes! Since it is cold pressed and retains all of it's nutrients it is amazing to use as a salad dressing or to drizzle on freshly baked bread or on pizza. EVOO has a smoke point of 400°F making it perfect to cook fish, eggs, and vegetables like potatoes, asparagus, and brussels sprouts.
Some history just for fun! Olive oil dates back thousands of years and it was used not just as food but as medicine, lamp fuel and skin care including soap! Olive trees were passed down from generation to generation and it was truly an honor to inherit them. To learn more about EVOO, visit Flavor Your Life!
Through Momsmeet I am able to sample Le Stagioni d’ Italia 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Recipes are provided by the Flavor Your Life Campaign. They have some great recipes, be sure to check them out! Le Stagioni d’ Italia 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil is made in state-of-the-art production facilities in Northern Italy. They have a seed to shelf process meaning they select the seeds, harvest the crops, and package the foods in their facilities. Their EVOO is cold pressed from first round of extraction, it has not been heated at all during processing therefore, it holds it’s full nutritional value. It is vegan, gluten free, and contains no additives or preservatives. Because it’s 100% EVOO it has a robust taste of artichoke and almonds. It has a ripe and fruity aroma and a spicy aftertaste.
How to make Pasta alla Carbonara
So lets get to this simple yet mouth watering recipe! You'll need:
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil- I used Le Stagioni d’Italia 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Pancetta or bacon, diced
- Eggs, room temperature
- Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh parsley, optional
Additionally, you can add cooked chicken, prosciutto or vegetables like peas. You can also substitute spaghetti or penne if you like those better. The best pasta carbonara I've ever had is in Italy, nothing beats authentic! It is hard to find guanciale (pork cheek) in the states so unfortunately it isn't truly authentic. Bacon or pancetta is a great substitute so rest assured, it still tastes incredible!
The biggest challenge is to make sure the egg doesn't "scramble" when you make traditional version of carbonara. It's important to make sure eggs are at room temperature. The key to the perfect sauce is to remove your pan from the heat then add your "sauce mixture"(see recipe).
Use Extra Virgin Olive Oil in these recipes:
- Creamy Pesto Crostini with Blistered Tomatoes
- Spinach, Jalapeno & Garlic Edamame Dip
- Tikka Masala Hummus
Pasta alla Carbonara
- 1 lb rigatoni 16 oz package
- 1 tablespoon olive oil extra virgin
- ¼ lb pancetta or bacon diced
- 3 eggs room temperature
- 1 cup pecorino Romano cheese freshly grated
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- parsley chopped, optional
- Cook pasta as directed on package
- Heat extra virgin olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add diced pancetta or bacon, cook until crispy. Remove from pan and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, mix the eggs, cheese and freshly ground pepper with a fork until well combined. Set aside.
- Drain pasta and transfer it to the large saute pan. Set heat to medium heat. Add pancetta or bacon to pan, toss well.
- Remove the pan from heat and add the egg, cheese and pepper mixture. Work quickly to toss until everything is well coated.
- Serve warm, garnish with parsley (optional)Enjoy!