Learn how to whip up this popular and comforting pasta dish loaded with cheese, pancetta and eggs with this recipe by Executive Chef at Conrad Centennial Singapore, Mandar Madav.
- 100 g pancetta
- 50 g pecorino cheese, grated
- 50 g parmesan cheese, grated
- 3 egg yolks
- 350 g spaghetti
- 2 plump garlic cloves, chopped
- 50 g unsalted butter
- 100 ml cooking cream
- Fresh cracked pepper
- Sea salt
Put a large saucepan of water on to boil.
Chop pancetta, having first removed any rind.
In a clean bowl, finely grate pecorino cheese and parmesan and mix them together.
In a deep pan, allow water to roll boil (rapid boiling with lots of bubbles), and add 1 teaspoon of olive oil in water.
Season the water with enough salt. Add in the pasta. Cook al dente.
Chef’s tip: Always take five times the quantity of water to that of pasta. It helps pasta to roll boil properly.
While the pasta is blanching, take a clean pan and add in the pancetta. Start cooking on medium flame, allow pancetta to cook until golden brown. Keep stirring in between.
Chef’s tip: Take a room temperature pan and add in the pancetta before turning on the flame. By allowing the pancetta to cook on medium heat, this will render the fat well and the pancetta will become crispy in its own fat.
Once done, add the chopped garlic.
Combine cheese, egg yolks and cooking cream to make a liaison (otherwise known as “binding agent”).
Chef’s tip: Never make the liaison too early, as it will dry up the emulsification quality of egg yolk which is needed for the pasta.
Turn the heat under the pancetta to low.
When the pasta is ready, lift it from the water with tongs and put it in the frying pan with the pancetta.
Chef’s tip: Don’t worry if a little water drops in the pan as well (you want this to happen) and don’t throw the pasta water away yet.
Take the pan of spaghetti and pancetta off the heat. Pour in the liason and mix well using tongs so that the spaghetti is not damaged. Please ensure that the flame is off and you are not cooking the pasta anymore!
Chef’s tip: If the pasta is too thick, add a table spoon of water (do not add the pasta water as it is salty).
Add cracked pepper and salt (if required). Serve and enjoy!
Tip: Do not forget to add the cracked pepper! Carbonara roughly translates to “in the manner of coal miners,” and the likely origin of the name is a Roman restaurant named Carbonara. However, it may also have earned its name because the flecks of black pepper appear like coal dust against the creamy eggs, cheese, and pasta.
Photo: Conrad Centennial Singapore