With 18 people coming for Easter dinner, Saturday was a long day of food preparation. By 5 PM, we were exhausted and the thought of making dinner was overwhelming. We were looking for something that was easy, quick and tasty. Jeff had found a recipe for Spaghetti alla Carbonara in April's Saveur Magazine. Seeing as he had picked up a 1/2 pound of pancetta from the North End on Friday, what better way to use it. In the time it took us to cook the spaghetti, the sauce was completed and just waiting to be mixed.
Over the past few month's we have been doing quite a few recipes that call for pancetta, I am really enjoying the taste that pancetta brings to a dish. I can best describe it as "better than bacon". The sauce was thick and coated the spaghetti. It was a perfect blend of pasta, pancetta, parmesan and pepper. I liked how the pepper was cooked in the pan with the pancetta, it gave the dish a fragrant tone.
We sat down and enjoyed generous helpings of this traditional Italian dish. I actually went back for seconds...it was good, really good!
4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 oz. thinly sliced guanciale or pancetta cut into 1⁄2" pieces
2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper, plus more to taste
1 3⁄4 cups finely grated Parmesan
1 egg plus 3 yolks
Kosher salt, to taste
1 lb. spaghetti
1. Heat oil in a 10" skillet over medium heat. Add guanciale and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 6–8 minutes. Add pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 2 minutes more. Transfer guanciale mixture to a large bowl and let cool slightly; stir in 1 1⁄2 cups Parmesan and egg and yolks and stir to combine; set aside.
2. Meanwhile, bring a 6-qt. pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta; cook until al dente, 8–10 minutes. Reserve 3⁄4 cup water; drain pasta and transfer it to guanciale mixture. Toss, adding pasta water a little at a time to make a creamy sauce. Season with salt and pepper; serve with remaining Parmesan.