Classic Carbonara

What is Carbonara?

It is a famous and very popular first course, characterised by pasta served with an egg-based sauce and browned guanciale (bacon). It is known as a typical Roman cuisine, but its origins are much debated; the fact is that there are no traces of this dish in Roman cuisine before the end of World War II. The name would suggest a way of preparing the pasta peculiar to those who made charcoal in the mountains of Lazio.

 

Three theories on its origins

1 The most widely accepted theory is this: when Rome was liberated during the Second World War, food shortages were extreme and one of the few resources were military rations, distributed mainly by the Americans. These included eggs (powdered), bacon (smoked bacon)

2 Pasta seasoned with products that were always available in the countryside, such as eggs, bacon and pecorino cheese were available both in Ciociaria and in the mountains towards Abruzzo. Many Roman middle-class families evacuated to the mountains during the war and learned this type of dish

3 Some believe that the dish already existed in Rome at a popular level, in taverns and in the family, at a time when traditional Roman cuisine had no media, although this is a rather weak assumption.

 

Ingredients

Durum wheat semolina pasta

Semi-cured bacon (smoked bacon should not be used)

Eggs

Pecorino Romano cheese

Pepper

 

What wines to pair with carbonara?

Dry sparkling wines are recommended to accompany carbonara as the carbon dioxide present can soften the unctuousness of the dish.

 

Some curiosities...

The first published recipe for Carbonara appeared in the United States in 1952, in a Chicago restaurant guide, and the ingredients were: egg noodles, eggs, bacon and Parmesan cheese. In Italy, the preparation of Carbonara appeared for the first time two years later in the magazine 'La Cucina Italiana', exactly seventy years ago, but the ingredients were: Gruyere, garlic, eggs and pepper.

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