18.2.13

Pasta does make the difference

I love pasta, but I had never believed that the brand of the pasta could influence the taste of a certain dish. Until now. 
As you might recall, my favorite pasta is Carbonara (remember?), simple, yet delicious. The best carbonara is made in Rome, some say it's the Antico Forno Roscioli in Campo dei Fiori that makes the best one, so when I read a post (in Italian) about an interview to Roscioli and another famous Roman chef about Carbonara, I had to read it twice (ok, I've read zillion times). Practically, it's an interview on how they prepare Carbonara and which ingredients they use. When I read that both chefs use the spaghetti from the pasta maker Benedetto Cavalieri, I thought I had to give it a try. 


Benedetto Cavalieri is a historic pasta maker from Apulia, the region in Southern Italy (you can read their Story here). It's not pasta you buy in the supermarket, you either buy it online, on specialty shops or, if you're lucky enough to live near Eataly, you get it there. So on our last visit to Rome, I got myself a pack of Benedetto Cavalieri's Spaghettoni, just like Roscioli, and I tried to follow his recipe, which I'm re-posting below.
I'm just gonna say that this felt like the best pasta I've ever cooked, the recipe is almost the same as mine but I think it was the pasta that made the difference, even though I didn't use many of the ingredients Roscioli uses (like Sichuan pepper and Pecorino di Fossa). It was thicker, tastier and gave the dish a whole sense of quality.

Spaghetti Carbonara, Alessandro Roscioli's style
(serves 4)
400 gr. of Spaghettoni Cavalieri
4 egg yolks
1 egg white
160 gr. of bacon (guanciale)
200 gr. of grated cheese (160 gr of Roman pecorino, 20 gr of Pecorino di Fossa and 20 gr of Parmigiano)
salt and pepper (a mix of Sarawak and Sichuan peppers)

Toast the bacon in an iron pan (it makes the bacon crispy), while toasting, try to separate the fat and keep half of it for later.
While the water boils, mix thoroughly the yolks and the white with half the cheese and the pepper. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water (this type of pasta takes about 15/16 minutes), drain it and put it in a big bowl, away from the stove. While mixing, first add the eggs and then the bacon (if it got cold, heat it a bit), then add the fat you took from the pan and the rest of the cheese. Serve and sprinkle some pepper.

There you go! Now you can have the best carbonara at home!