The first time I watched a college friend make the spaghetti alla carbonara he’d learned to cook in Italy, I thought it was absolute genius the way simple bacon, eggs, Parmesan, pepper, and pasta swirled together into a rich, creamy sauce. But when I tried to make it myself, I could never quite replicate the dish I remembered. My eggs would scramble and the whole thing was lumpy and dry. Some recipes recommended adding cream, but I knew that wasn’t the answer because my friend hadn’t done that. I eventually learned to thin the mix with some of the water you cook the pasta in, so that helped with the dryness issue. But I still hadn’t achieved the rich, creamy ideal.
Then I came across this one technique that finally brought the whole thing together. And it’s dead simple. Thanks to Chef John at Food Wishes, I learned to stir the pasta while slowly pouring in the beaten eggs and cheese.Why had I never thought to do that? I’d always just poured everything into the pasta and then started stirring. Of course the eggs instantly scrambled when they hit the hot pot while I was off reaching for my spoon. Now that I stir and pour at the same time, I'm finally making the rich, smooth, creamy spaghetti alla carbonara of my dreams. Without a drop of cream.
Go on and try this technique on any of these versions of pasta carbonara. Maybe it will up your carbonara game, too.
Always learning something!