Ask A Chef: Spaghetti CarbonaraRecipe By: Rob Gentile
Chef director Rob Gentile of Toronto’s Buca shares his recipe for Spaghetti Carbonara.
Q: Spaghetti carbonara seems like one of those recipes that I should be able to make at home, but restaurant versions always taste so much better! The carbonara at Buca is a standout: its rich, velvety texture is so decadent. What makes it so good? – Nick, Toronto
A: Rob Gentile boosts the flavor of his carbonara by incorporating a couple of things that aren’t part of the classic recipe (white wine and sweet onion), but the real trick is using high-quality ingredients. Make sure the eggs are farm fresh, and seek out guanciale (cured pork cheek) from a butcher or Italian specialty store — its flavor and the way it melts in your mouth are a big part of what makes this dish.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup guanciale, or cured pork cheek, sliced into strips
- 1⁄2 cup finely diced Spanish onion
- 1⁄2 cup white wine
- 450–500 g dried spaghetti (Rummo brand recommended)
- 2–3 cups pasta water
- 3 egg yolks
- 1⁄2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Crotonese (or Parmigiano Reggiano)
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Sauté Guanciale And Onions
- Bring large pot of salted water to a boil.
- In large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add guanciale and cook for 5 minutes, until golden brown.
- Reduce heat to medium, add onions and cook for 3 minutes, until soft. Add white wine, stirring to scrape up any bits on bottom of pan, and reduce heat to low.
- Add pasta to boiling water and cook for 5 minutes, or about half the time indicated on package. Drain, reserving 2 to 3 cups of pasta water for sauce.
- Add pasta to saucepan with guanciale and onions. Turn heat to medium-high and simmer for 5 minutes, adding reserved pasta water as needed until pasta is al dente and sauce is absorbed. Remove from heat.
- Add one egg yolk at a time to pasta, gradually sprinkling in 1⁄4 cup of grated Pecorino while tossing pasta so eggs cook gently and do not scramble. The pasta will gain a creamy consistency.
- Once tossed, place pasta in large serving bowl and add salt to taste. Top with remaining grated Pecorino, season with freshly cracked pepper and serve.