IWD – „Bastardized“ Pasta Carbonara

Today we celebrate International Women’s Day with yellow food. fiordisale and I invited you to cook something yellow.

International Women's Day

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!

Pasta Carbonara
serves 1

IWD - "Bastardized" Pasta Carbonara

80 g Pasta
1 egg yolk
40 g bacon
1/2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
freshly grounded black pepper
fresh parsley

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)


11 Gedanken zu „IWD – „Bastardized“ Pasta Carbonara

  1. I love pasta carbonara – and I especially love that you recipe is for one! Thankls so much for co-hosting this event with Fiordisale – I think it is a wonderful idea.

  2. Haha! I had the same sort of problem- saffron buns a failure but butternut squash risotto perfect. The Carbonara looks great! Thanks for the history, very interesting! Happy International Women’s Day!

  3. Your pasta Carbonara looks so inviting and delicious! What a great history explanation that you have included! I just found a Polish Deli in Seattle, Wa that makes there own smoked bacon, which smells and tastes absolutely delicious!, and I can see that this dish will have to be made including my new discovery! I had a lot of fun entering into the International Women’s Day Event! This day actually means a lot to my family =D.

  4. Real Carbonara makes a huge difference (everything else should be forbbiden) and your research makes this post really cool)!

  5. Visiting your blog for the first time. And impressed by your posts and loved to hang by..will keep coming back !

  6. Habe es gestern mal gekocht und muss sagen ich bin begeistert. Es war für mich schon ein wenig kompliziert (bin Student und kein Koch-Profi, außerdem ist meine Freundin verreist :( ) Wie dem auch sei, hat auf jeden Fall geklappt und schmeckt 1A.

    Danke dafür und liebe Grüße

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