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Feb 18, 2013 11:09 AM

Who makes a kick-ass Spaghetti Carbonara?

Any thoughts?

(And, yes, I did search and the latest posts were something like 5-8 years ago.)

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  1. Do not think it is on the regular menu but I know Madeo will make it upon request - call and ask first.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ciao Bob

      One would think that just about any Italian place worth their guanciale can make this upon request ...

    2. Not gonna lie. I do :)

      Restaurants won't use the quality of cheese the home cook can. The X factor is the quality of the egg.

      7 Replies
        1. re: aizan

          I'm afraid it's just going to get kicked over to the home cooking board.

          No secret though. Standard recipe. I don't necessarily always use guanciale. Nice pancetta or even bacon will do. Surfas and Bay Cities carry guanciale if you want to stay true to the traditional recipe.

          Use the best eggs and cheese that you can find. I use a 50/50 mix of Pecorino and P. Reggiano (the 18-24 month aged stuff). Try to get eggs with a dark orange yolk if you can.

          Finish everything off the heat with a little pasta water. Top with shaved aged P.Reggiano or Pecorino.

          I like to use DeCecco brand spaghetti because it stays so al dente.

          1. re: aizan

            Roscioli in Rome makes the best carbonara. I eat there every year.

            Here's a link to a video I found on (Rome denizen) Katie Parla's website. Follow instructions religiously and you'll come close to the Roscioli experience. Quality cheeses, quality peppercorns and farm-fresh eggs go without saying. Pay particular attention to the size of the guanciale and the role the pasta water plays in both crisping/puffing the guanciale as well as "loosening" the pasta, cheese, egg mix.


            I'll take Porthos' Pepsi Challenge when it comes to carbonara. ;-)

            1. re: steve h.

              Funny we posted at the same time. The devil is in the ingredients. It's hard for me to get eggs with such a wonderful dark orange yolk out here in LA. Even that $10/dozen farmer's market stuff doesnt' come close.

              The key to that video is the continuous adding of small amounts of pasta water and folding it in off the heat until they sauce becomes utterly creamy.

              The video doesn't tell you if they use only pecornio or a mix of pecornio and P.Reggiano though.

              I'd be happy to make my version for you the next time you're in town. Feel free to bring a block of 60 month old P. Reggiano from Roscioli for me to finish the pasta with. I'm almost done with mine ;-)

              1. re: Porthos

                Yes to all you said. Once you source top-quality ingredients, the rest is all technique. I'll bring the cheese if you provide the wine.

                Deb and I are back to Rome next month. Timing is everything.

                Edited to add: I have a great egg source. It really makes a difference.

                1. re: steve h.

                  I have wine. :)

                  Enjoy Rome. Plan on taking a page from you and spending a few weeks there in a flat with a kitchen the next time I get back.

        2. I've enjoyed it at Mozza quite a bit.

          1. My husband really liked the one from Ostera La Buca.

            1 Reply
            1. re: nomnomnoms

              Second Osteria La Buca. That is a really delicious carbonara. Ricotta croquettes w/ truffle honey are also a taste-gasm.

            2. Enoteca Drago does an exemplary one. The one at Drago Centro is good as well. Also, Superba offers a good variation using bucatini.