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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.

                1. Superba Snack Bar's smoked bucatini carbonara is a strong contender for my dish of 2013.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: ronsilverado

                    I don't know how I haven't made it to this place - smoked bucatini carbonara sounds divine!

                    1. re: ronsilverado

                      Had it tonight at Superba with and that egg and cheese is one rich incredible dish. The homemade smokey pasta is wonderful & has a great bite and texture. Very generous portion.

                      1. re: wienermobile

                        Is it made with a "raw" egg mixture of just topped with a fried egg?

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          No. A very runny poached egg on top. So good. This is how it listed on their menu: smoked bucatini carbonara, poached egg, pancetta, black pepper & parm.

                          1. re: wienermobile

                            That's not really Carbonara. Doesn't meant it's not good like you say.

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              It is not trad/authentic but it is really good!

                    2. I had one at Pecorino which was very traditional - with guanciale. But their menu now says "homemade bacon".

                      I actually prefer it with a good American bacon. It's just tastier IMHO.

                      1. I quite love it at Colori Kitchen in Downtown (8th & Olive). If you've never been there, it's worth checking out. Small hole in the wall place, and you can bring your own wine. Everything I've tried there is wonderful, and the carbonara is especially good.

                            1. re: A5 KOBE

                              Interesting. What else is good there? Any of the other pasta dishes worth a gander?

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                I like the cod roe with sea urchin/seaweed and the carbonara. Also the bread is really good.

                                1. re: A5 KOBE

                                  I've been eating their mushroom spaghetti for at least 25 years. Maybe I'll have to branch out and try the carbonara there.

                            2. Gusto on West 3rd. The most perfect, authentic carbonara in this city. They use guanciale, if that indicates anything to you.

                              Trust me on this one. Run, don't walk.

                              7 Replies
                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  No cream.

                                  Sorry for the slacker reply. Have you been to Gusto since this thread started? If not, why? Hye thee with alacrity.

                                  1. re: Professor Salt

                                    Since this thread I've actually got my carbonara fix in NYC (at Pó) and SF (SPQR).

                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        You're doing yourself an injustice if you don't stop by Gusto and try it. I live in the South Bay and if I'm in the neighborhood, I'll stop and grab some (take out if necessary) even if I'm not hungry. I haven't found anything comparable in LA, not Superba, not Spoon House, or any others that I've seen listed. Strangely, Gusto's uses dry pasta instead of fresh but it's very high quality. And, the egg yoke on top that you break into the pasta makes the dish.

                                        Comparison points: I and a good friend of mine who's taste I trust haven't found anything comparable in NYC either. Barbuto's is good but not as. Vic at Gusto claims his reference is Lupa and I'm still more a fan of Gusto's than Lupa's. It's splitting hairs there but still.

                                        1. re: gbert

                                          In many ways it's actually easier for me to get to NYC than to the Mid-Wilshire area.

                                          But I will keep Gusto on my bucket list.

                                2. For a neighborhood carbonara, I think Jones Cafe has a pretty decent one.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: schrutefarms

                                    Also at the "neighborhood" level, I thought the carbonara at La Bottega (which I had yesterday) was really tasty....