If you follow me on instagram [@giuliaporro_loveateverybite] you would have seen our house has been taken over by PASTA. Of course, with two italians living in this household – you would think pasta is plentiful in our household already (and yes it is) but when you get 10kg of pasta delivered to an apartment – then you’ve got a lot of pasta!
Luckily it’s all Pasta Garofalo – one of the leading pasta brands in the world and incidentally one of our favourites! We bulk buy Pasta Garofalo from Costco in Australia and are always on the look out for their different varieties. Since 1789, Pasta Garofalo has been produced in Gragnano, near Naples, in the south of Italy. Gragnano is now know as the “town of pasta” and for good reason – some of best pasta comes from there!
We received a mix of pasta types and I am so excited to take you on a journey throughout Italy, showcasing traditional pasta dishes from each of Italy’s regions! Let me know if you would like any specific recipes – maybe a plate you tried whilst travelling and never forgot about? I am certainly no expert on all of Italy’s regions so I will be learning lots (and eating lots) as well!
The first recipe I am showcasing is spaghetti alla carbonara. There is a lot of debate about this dish in Italy, primarily around its exact origins (some say it originated in the Umbria region, others in the Naples region) but today it is most commonly known as from the Lazio region. Italians also love debating what exactly goes into a typical “carbonara”, some people use egg yolks, some use whole eggs, some add cream – but that is pretty typical for all Italian classics – each family has their own recipe and will defend it till death to them part.
Spaghetti alla carbonara has become a world-wide famous dish, most likely due to its simple ingredients – but the key to making a good carbonara is having good ingredients – fresh eggs, freshly trimmed ‘guanciale’ and strong pecorino cheese.
My version is one adapted from my mother-in-law. Most people would call it a “bastardised” version because of the thickened cream, we add just 1 or 2 tablespoons to make the sauce a bit creamier – especially because the pecorino we use is pretty dry and flakey. Alternatively, instead of the thickened cream – you can add one whole egg (slightly whisked).
For our spaghetti alla carbonara I used “spaghetti alla chitarra” from Pasta Garofalo. Although spaghetti are the traditional pasta type used, given the creamy sauce – bucatini or spaghettini are also suitable.
Guanciale is close to impossible to find in Australia (let alone Canberra) so I used a good quality pancetta – with lots of fat on it. The differences between pancetta and guanciale are minimal so you shouldn’t worry too much. If you are ever in Italy – make sure to try some traditional guanciale.
Pecorino is relatively easy to find in Australia – most supermarkets and delis will have it. The stronger (or more aged) the better. I finished the last of our block (hence the photo of parmesan) with this recipe so I’ll have to stock up again quickly! Although you could get slapped for using parmesan, if you are not a big cheese eater and don’t want to buy a huge block of expensive pecorino – parmesan will do just fine (shhh, don’t tell anyone I said that).
- 200g of spaghetti alla chitarra [Pasta Garofalo]
- 2 tbsp of sea salt
- 100g of good quality chopped pancetta [or guanciale if you are lucky enough to find some]
- 2 egg yolks
- 50g of grated pecorino cheese
- 2 tbsp of thickened cream or 1 whole egg (gently whisked)
- Salt and Pepper
- Firstly, put a large pot of water on medium heat and bring to the boil.
- When boiling - add 2 tbsp of sea salt and add the spaghetti to the pot. Cook according to packet instructions - Pasta Garofalo's spaghetti cook in 11 minutes.
- While the spaghetti are cooking, dry-fry (with no oil) the pancetta in a pan until crispy and crunchy.
- In a large serving bowl, gently whisk the two egg yolks with the grated pecorino cheese and pepper.
- Once whisked, mix through the thickened cream (is using) and the crispy pancetta.
- When the spaghetti are cooked, drain quickly and return to the pot (heat should be turned off). Add the egg yolk mixture and the whole whisked egg (if using) and mix through quickly to avoid the eggs from curdling.
- Serve immediately with additional grated pecorino and pepper.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Pasta Garofalo, however all opinions are my own.