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A fresh take on a classic Italian dish. If you can’t find guanciale at your local food store, you can substitute pancetta in its place. Also, the downloadable recipe card includes a Vegan option for this dish. Recipe and photo credits: Basics with Babish Download Recipe PDF


Traditional Carbonara

2 tsp kosher salt + more to taste
8 oz guanciale, cubed
8 oz dried spaghetti
Olive oil, if needed
4 oz parmesan or pecorino cheese, grated
2 large egg yolks
To taste freshly ground black pepper

How To Make

Fill a 12-inch high-walled skillet ⅔ of the way full with water. Add the 2 teaspoons salt and bring the water to a boil.
Meanwhile, add the guanciale to a cold 12-inch cast iron pan. Begin heating the pan over medium heat, stirring the meat periodically to ensure evening browning. Cook the guanciale for 4-5 minutes or until the meat is fully cooked and the fat is thoroughly rendered.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente (according to the box instructions). Reserve 1 ½ cups of the pasta looking liquid, then strain the pasta and place it back into the now empty high-walled skillet. If the guanciale is still cooking, add 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pasta to prevent it from sticking, then cover the skillet with a lid to keep the pasta warm.
Once the guanciale is cooked, spoon out about ¼ cup of the rendered fat into a heat-proof bowl, preferably with a pourable spout.
Combine the cheese and egg yolks in a high-powered blender. With the blender running, stream ½ cup of the still-warm pasta cooking water into the egg mixture, followed by the ¼ cup of rendered fat. Optionally, add one piece of the cooked guanciale to the blender for added meaty flavor. Blend the mixture for 10-15 seconds longer or until the sauce is homogenous and glossy.
Add the cooked pasta to the cast iron skillet containing the cooked guanciale (and remaining rendered fat). Add the remaining 1 cup of pasta cooking water and cook the mixture over low heat while stirring with metal tongs.
Turn off the heat and slowly add the egg mixture straight from the blender to the pasta will stirring with metal tongs. Season the pasta to taste with salt and pepper, then serve immediately.