Can you think of a more quintessential Italian dish than carbonara? We definitely can't. Who doesn't love pasta tossed with a creamy sauce peppered with bits of pancetta? It’s the ultimate comfort food.
While carbonara is made with different kinds of pasta like linguine, fettuccine, or spaghetti, we prefer to use bucatini. Bucatini is thick, shaped like spaghetti, but is pasta with a hole in the center. It's perfect for soaking up delicious sauces.
We want to share with you our bucatini carbonara recipe along with some tips for making this dish at home. Carbonara has been around for hundreds of years but that doesn't mean you should be intimidated by this authentic Italian dish.
- How to make Bucatini Carbonara
- 5 Tips for Making Carbonara
- Feel Like a Professional Chef Tonight
- The History of Carbonara
- Why Bucatini Pasta?
How to make Bucatini Carbonara
If you've been cooking at home for months and have run out of ideas, look no further than bucatini carbonara. Below is our favorite recipe for carbonara. This recipe serves four to six people.
- Three tablespoons olive oil
- 1/3 pound of diced pancetta or guanciale
- Five to six chopped garlic cloves
- Pepper and salt to taste
- Six large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup white wine
- One package Dagostino’s Semolina Bucatini
- Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino Romano cheese
- 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
- To cook the pasta, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil
- Salt the water and cook the bucatini according to the instructions on the package or until al dente
- Drain reserving one cup of the pasta water
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet, over medium heat
- Add the guanciale or pancetta and brown for three to four minutes
- Toss in the garlic and black pepper, cook stirring for an additional two minutes
- Pour in the white wine and reduce the heat to low
- Whisk the eggs yolks, adding in your pepper and salt
- Add in the cup of reserved hot pasta water to the egg yolks in a slow stream
- Note: keep an extra half cup of pasta water in case your pasta needs some more cooking liquid
- Drain the pasta, adding in the pancetta and garlic
- Remove from heat, toss to coat with the egg yolks, the grated cheeses, parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste
Bucatini carbonara is a simple yet elegant meal that you can whip up any night of the week. Even if it's the day before grocery shopping and your cabinets are bare, you likely have everything you need to make carbonara’s tasty and glossy sauce.
5 Tips for Making Carbonara
While the recipe itself is straightforward, there are a few tips and tricks you can implement when cooking at home to ensure you have a flawless product. The recipe above, paired with quality ingredients, will have you feeling like a master chef in no time.
1. Make Sure Your Eggs Are at Room Temperature
The temperature of your eggs plays a key role in the consistency of your sauce. Room temperature eggs ensure that your sauce is light and smooth as cold eggs can make your sauce clump. A few hours before you start making your meal, put your eggs in a bowl on the counter.
2. Use Egg Yolks
Some carbonara recipes call for a mixture of egg whites and egg yolks but we're not a fan of that. Egg whites can make your sauce watery and that's the last thing you want. Instead of throwing away the unused egg whites, save them in a container for an egg-white omelet.
3. Remove the Dish From the Heat
This is where some carbonara recipes go awry. You can't mix the sauce and the noodles over the heat. You want the residual heat from the noodles to create the luxurious sauce of the dish, not the heat from your pan or burner.
In addition to turning off your burner, remove the pan completely from it. We don't want scrambled eggs in our pasta.
4. Slowly and Immediately Add Your Eggs
As soon as you take the pan off the burner you'll need to add the eggs. The noodles need to be very hot to set the sauce and cook the eggs. Don't dump it in all at once - gradually add the egg mixture so the sauce can thicken.
5. Move Fast and Efficiently
When pouring your egg sauce onto your pasta, keep the pasta moving so you make sure it's distributed evenly. You want every bit of pasta to have some of that decadent sauce stuck to it. While you add the egg mixture in with one hand, have a spoon or tongs in the other so you can be ready to stir.
Feel Like a Professional Chef Tonight
Is there anything better than wowing your dinner guests with a delicious meal? They'll think you spent hours in the kitchen over the stove when in reality, it took you less than 30 minutes.
Or, better yet, make some bucatini carbonara for yourself. You deserve a decadent meal that will have you going back for seconds and thirds.
For more ideas to add to your weekly menu, check out the pasta recipes section of our website.
The History of Carbonara
Before we dive into the recipe, let's talk about the history of the dish. It's commonly associated with the city of Rome and the region of Lazio in Italy, but there's been a lot of debate about its origins. Some people connect the dish to "pasta cacio e uova," a pasta dish from the Neopolitan region.
Other people have traced it back to when Rome was liberated by Allied troops in 1944 during World War II. American soldiers brought their rations of bacon and eggs to restaurants to add to the limited menus of Italian restaurants. Regardless of how it came to be, carbonara is a popular dish around the world.
It's a very versatile dish that can be tweaked depending upon your personal preferences. People who are vegetarian can experiment with swapping out the pancetta for roasted artichokes. You could also add in shrimp if you love seafood.
No matter what your dining preferences are, carbonara is a dish that's meant to bring people together.
Why Bucatini Pasta?
Bucatini is a long pasta that's similar to spaghetti but with a hole through the middle. It's typical for dishes created in Rome and paired with simple ingredients, like those found in carbonara. Even though the noodle is thicker than spaghetti, it cooks in the same amount of time because water is able to pass through the central hole.
Its lineage can be traced back to Sicily. The name itself comes from "buco," the Italian word for hole. In Southern Italy, it's called "perciatio," which means pierced in Neopolitan.
If you can't buy the noodles directly from an Italian shop, no worries. Dagostino Pasta handmakes their own bucatini pasta. The pasta pairs perfectly with the decadent ingredients of carbonara.
Learn more about Bucatini pasta in our blog "What Is Bucatini? Your Guide to This Delicious Pasta (Plus a Recipe You'll Love!)"