I baked a saffron bread for this occasion, but unfortunately it tasted not as good as I imagined. I had to improvise and decided to make some Carbonara. Originally Carbonara is made with Spaghetti and Pancetta. Instead of Spaghetti I used Mafalde. I have to use them because they passed the „best before date“. And I had no Pancetta on hand too. I used „normal“ bacon. So it’s not an authentic Carbonara but delicious and the most important: It’s yellow!
80 g Pasta
1 egg yolk
40 g bacon
1/2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
freshly grounded black pepper
Cut the bacon in thin stripes or chop it finely. Heat a non-stick pan, add olive oil and bacon, let cook until crispy. In the meantime cook the pasta until aldente, do not drain.
Mix egg yolk with cheese and add splash of warm water (just take it from the pan where the pasta is boiling) and pepper.
Take the pasta directly from the cooking water and add it to the bacon. Remove from heat add egg yolk mixture and stir quickly making sure the egg does not overcook but remains creamy. Sprinkle with parsley.
Serve with more cheese and pepper if you like. I do! ;-)
The mysterious origins of the dish
Carbonara has a very recent history. No Italian cookbooks older than 50 years give reference to its recipe. There are indeed various legends circulating about the origins of the dish but none of them is very credible. The basis of the word Carbonara is carbone – charcoal. Legend has it that this way of cooking pasta was very popular among Roman Carbinai, men who worked in the bush, carbonising wood to produce charcoal. But the connection is not very convincing. Others say that Carbonara comes from Carbonari, which has the same meaning as carbinai, but was used for the underground Italian insurgents fighting for independence from the Austrians two hundred years ago. However, no proof has been found of any association of Carbonara with them.
There is a school of thought claiming that a Carbonara is among the recipes of La Cucina Teorico Pratica, a book edited in 1837 by the Neapolitan Duke Ippolito Cavalcanti. That recipe though doesn’t have pancetta nor guanciale and the eggs are overcooked. Cavalcanti’s recipe is basically another dish but appears very similar to the traditional pasta cooked with “unto e uovo”, “grease and egg”. Before pancetta or guanciale, two hundred years ago, lard was used instead. Finally some say that Carbonara comes from the color of pepper that must be sprinkled abundantly over the dish. But in the past pepper was a very expensive spice, Carbonara instead was a poor peasant dish. Pepper was added later.
The American origin: culturally, this legend is the hardest to believe. Apparently, in 1944 when the US Army arrived in Rome, American soldiers mingled their scrambled eggs and bacon with pasta and suddenly the Italians copied them. (source pdf)