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pasta alla carbonara

Pasta alla carbonara is a recent addition to Italian cookbooks.

An offshoot of the beloved Roman dish cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper pasta), they say the addition of eggs and bacon came from American GIs. It was in a Florentine kitchen during my study abroad that I learned the recipe. When I was in Florence studying at Lorenzo de’Medici five years ago, I took a semester-long cooking class with an ex-Army general named Gabriele that made a serious impression on me. It wasn’t the recipes that impressed me but the stories behind each and everyone of them. Many people don’t realize that the Italian food we know and love in the USA is not a true representation of Italian food as a whole. Most of the people who fled Italy during WWII were southern Italians. They brought along their knowledge but changed their recipes to fit American tastebuds. That being said: did you know mixing dairy with seafood is sacrilegious, the Italian topping preferences greatly differ from that of Americans, and spaghetti and meatballs, arguably the second-most popular Italian dish outside Italy IS NOT even authentically Italian.

So now that your mind is blown, let me introduce to you a dish that has also been altered in diaspora. One of them is pasta alla carbonara. People who are familiar with this dish know it for its creaminess. But in actuality, a true carbonara has no cream whatsoever. Carbonara sauce is purely egg and cheese fusing so beautifully in a hot pan that it mimics the consistency of cream. The name carbonaro is the Italian for charcoal burner; the Appenine charcoal burners supposedly depended on this hearty, but easy meal to prep, to get through a long day of hard work in the mines. These origins led to the nickname “coal miner’s spaghetti.”

pasta alla carbonara

Let’s get crackin’ on this recipe!

pasta alla carbonara

ABOUT THE INGREDIENTS

  • Carbonara sauce can be drizzled over any type of pasta. Spaghetti seems to be the pasta of choice but I’m a bigger fan of linguine as its a bit thicker and a little goes a long way. You can also use fettucine, rigatoni, or bucatine.
  • Just an FYI: Italians prefer their pasta a bit firm aka ‘al dente.’ But I like it soft so I cook it for a minute longer and I always add a pinch of salt and a drop of olive oil to the pot. Also, DO NOT rinse your pasta afterwards.
  • Your sauce will adhere better to the noodles if you don’t rinse it.
  • Fresh parmesan is a must! Don’t opt for pre-grated parmesan.
  • If you’re trying to go the healthier route, replace the butter with olive oil.
  • Also, a note on the bacon. The original recipe, from Claudia Roden’s ‘Food of Italy‘ (p. 267), calls for pancetta. It’s basically the Italian equivalent of American bacon. It’s a bit saltier and has a very robust flavor. Try to use unsmoked, streaky bacon if pancetta is unavailable.
pasta alla carbonara

Getting our cheers on before the start of the night

pasta alla carbonara

Calling all the hungry folk in town!

PASTA ALLA CARBONARA COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

ONTO PREP TIME! GET THOSE VEGGIES AND BACON CHOPPED. GRATING CHEESE BY HAND IS A PAIN BUT SO WORTH IT.

pasta alla carbonara

TRANSITIONING INTO COOKING, DON’T FORGET TO DOUBLE-BOIL YOUR EGGS TO KILL THE BACTERIA.

pasta alla carbonara

ONCE YOU PLATE YOUR PASTA ALLA CARBONARA, SPRINKLE A PINCH OF PEPPER, GRATE PARMESAN CHEESE OVER THE TOP, AND GARNISH WITH A SPRIG OF PARSLEY! BUON APPETITO!

food finds recipes

pasta alla carbonara

Outcast’s Free Food Wednesday event invites anyone in the Saigon community to takeover the kitchen for one night only. Running for over a month now, guests have whipped up all sorts of delicious recipes such as Indonesian pork skewers, chicken and pancakes, Caribbean chow, and even Iranian-inspired banh mis. All you have to do is order a drink and you get a plate but it’s first come, first serve so make sure you arrive early since they serve until they run out. If you want to learn more about the event or try your hand at cooking, click here. I never once in a million years believed that I could cook for this many people but it was an incredible experience from start to finish and nothing feels better than getting something done. #bucketlistmoment
pasta alla carbonara

Feel free to print me out!

the next somewhere watch videoWATCH THE TUTORIAL VIDEO TO GET ALL THE STEPS RIGHT


Looking for more recipes?

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Spanish Lemongrass and Chili Croquetas

Vietnamese Mooncakes

Spanish Seafood Paella

👉 In the kitchen… comment below to share more recipes for me to discover!

Give me a shout-out on Pinterest pretty please?

pinterest pasta alla carbonara

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Millette Pulido is a Bay Area-based, Boston-bred Filipina who loves to vagabond. At 29, the former expat has traded in her nomadic ways for a semi-grounded life in San Jose, CA. Recently married, she's focusing on balancing travel with a full-time job and a destination wedding side hustle, all while planning her honeymoon in 2020. She lives for good times, good food, and good peeps. Find out her #wheretonext on Instagram @thenextsomewhere.

Comments:

  • September 5, 2016

    Your artwork is on point. You built a template for this because the last post also looked similar. Love it as a branding exercise.

    Also great you created printable versions of the recipe.

    reply...
  • marie

    September 5, 2016

    This looks like such Fun! Lots of laughs and great food, I love your pics too. It is true that as a european the U.S. version of Italian food filled me with horror!

    reply...
  • September 5, 2016

    Izzy!! I studied in Florence too! ๐Ÿ˜€ I wish I would have done this cooking class that you speak of! LOVE LOVE LOVE the video! You should do more! You’re so fun and I felt like I was right there with you! I wish I was at this event! I love cooking and miss it while traveling, you seem like you’d be a great cooking buddy! I am going to try this recipe while we are home btw! Keep up the awesome work, I love your content!

    reply...
  • September 5, 2016

    What a fun video. Looked super delicious and made me wanna eat right meow. Had such a great time watching this and loved all the graphics! So much fun!

    reply...
  • September 5, 2016

    That’s great! I always love hearing about food and the history. I live in Korea currently and it’s the same here. They have stews that were based on American army men describing food back home so the Koreans made it and still eat it… but it’s LITERALLY nothing like an American stew. Or the “Chinese” food here which isn’t like American Chinese food OR Chinese Chinese food. Seriously.. can anyone get Chinese food right? Food! I just love the stories too.

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  • Jo

    September 5, 2016

    I love your food facts and damn this looks delicious. I wish I was a guest at the event that night to have tried your scrumptious pasta! How long did it take and how many people were at the event?

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  • Mimi

    September 5, 2016

    Oh man I miss vietnam so much and saigon outcast as well. Great post and enjoy your journey

    reply...
  • September 6, 2016

    You’re such a lively girl, Izzy. You make cooking glamorous with your prints:-). And this resto’s promo is great! I can see you’re loving Saigon each day!

    reply...

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