I Tried Making Authentic Carbonara… But I Didn’t Have Parmesan

When you think of Carbonara here in the Philippines, you often think of pasta drenched in creamy, white sauce. The white sauce is usually made from milk or cream and butter. Some start with a roux; meaning butter is melted, then flour is cooked with the butter and serves as the base for the sauce before milk is added. In short, a Bechamel sauce is made. Some skip the roux; they simply make a cream or milk- based sauce, and some sort of protein is added. Like ham, shredded chicken, or tuna.

 

But did you know that authentic Carbonara is made without any dairy or cream? In fact, in one YouTube video that I watched, Antonio Carluccio, the “Godfather of Italian Gastronomy” said that it is forbidden to add cream to Carbonara. The creaminess of the sauce comes from the eggs and the parmesan cheese.

 

I wanted to make Carbonara the authentic Italian way, so after watching a video on how Italians prepare Carbonara, I decided to try it on my own. It looked super easy, and you only needed 4 ingredients, if you don’t count the pepper. So I figured, I could give it a go. There was one teensy problem though.

 

I didn’t have parmesan cheese.

 

And honestly, it’s not that easy to find a block of parmesan cheese on the nearest grocery store. There’s a lot of bottled ones; those that are pre-grated and had the texture of granulated garlic. But honestly, I did not want to get out of the house because it was so hot outside. I did have some Eden cheese though, and I thought, “What could go wrong?”

 

Was I able to do it successfully? Watch the video below to find out. 😊

If you want to make it as well, here’s what you will need:

  • 450 grams of pasta
  • 250 grams of bacon
  • 120 grams of cheese (I used Eden)
  • 6 eggs
  • Pepper to taste

Here are the Steps:

  1. Boil the pasta according to package instructions.
  2. Cook the bacon on a non-stick pan and about a tablespoon of water to render the fat. Do not additional oil because the bacon fat will be used for the pasta later.
  3. Grate the cheese.
  4. Crack 6 eggs in a bowl.
  5. Add the grated cheese and some black pepper.
  6. Whisk until well-combined. Set aside until the pasta is cooked.
  7. Once the pasta is cooked, remove it from the heat, but do not drain it. You might need the pasta water later.
  8. Put the pasta on the pan where the bacon was cooked. Make sure that the bacon/or the pan is still very hot. The heat from the pasta and the bacon will cook the eggs and melt the cheese.
  9. Mix the pasta and the bacon.
  10. When the pasta is covered with the bacon fat, add the egg mixture. Mix well.
  11. If the pasta seems too dry, add some pasta water. The starch from the pasta will make the sauce stick and it will ensure that the sauce does not get watery.
  12. This is best served while hot.

I prefer the pasta to be al dente; I don’t like it mushy. If the pasta is too soft, it will break down easily when you mix it with the other ingredients. I find that if you season the water really well, the pasta will taste great even if you don’t put it in the sauce yet.

I liked the way this recipe turned out. It was creamy, and I did not need to add any more salt because the pasta was well-seasoned, and the bacon was salty enough. If the bacon rendered too much fat, be sure to remove some of it. If the pasta and bacon mixture is too salty, the egg sauce might not stick to the pasta. You need to be really sure that the bacon pan and the pasta are really hot so that the eggs will cook. You do not want to eat raw eggs.

I hope you try this at home.

Until my next post. Cheers!

 

*If you want to get your own Stoneware pan, which I used in the video, you can check out Stoneware pans by clicking this link.

 

 

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