Vicolo della Scrofa is one of the most characteristic and symbolic streets in Rome and it is said that the first Carbonara was made in a restaurant there in 1944. The most reliable story describes the intersection between ingredients available to American soldiers and the imagination of a Roman cook. The result was the prototype of spaghetti carbonara: eggs, pork check (later bacon) and cheese.
This recipe is a close relative of two other cornerstones of genuine Italian cuisine: amatriciana and gricia!
Spaghetti 320 g
Pork cheek (or bacon) 150 g
Medium egg yolks 6
Roman pecorino 50 g
Salt and Pepper To Taste.
Preparation and Cooking:
- Start by boiling a pot of salted water and cook the pasta to “al dente” according to the directions on the package.
- While the pasta cooks, remove the rind from the pork cheek and cut it into slices and then into strips about 1cm thick. Put the pieces into a non-stick pan and brown for about 15 minutes on medium heat, being careful not to burn them.
- While the spaghetti and pork cheek cooks, mix the yolks and most of the pecorino together in a bowl (the remainder will serve to garnish the pasta). Season with black pepper and mix with a hand whisk until well combined. Add a spoonful of warm (not hot) pasta cooking water to dilute the mixture and mix again until combined.
- Once the pork cheek is cooked, turn off the heat. Drain the al dente pasta (reserving some of the cooking water if desired) and put it directly into the pan with the bacon and sauté it briefly to flavor it. Remove from the heat and pour the egg and Pecorino mixture into the pan. Stir quickly to mix.
- Optional: To make it very creamy you can add a little more of the pasta cooking water.
- Serve immediately with the extra pecorino cheese sprinkled on top and ground black pepper to taste.