As Michael Ruhlman says, “Saying there’s one authentic way to make carbonara is like saying there’s only one Italian dialect.” As simple a dish as pasta carbonara is, I’ve never had two that were the same.
Hands down, the best carbonara I ever ate was during my 26th birthday dinner at the now-shuttered Cibo Matto in Chicago when Todd Stein was the chef. In his version–simply dubbed Bucatini–a glistening, orange duck egg yolk teetered atop a winding pile of super al dente bucatini flecked with cracked pepper, cheese and crisp, fatty guanciale. Sadly, I only got to eat it once, since the restaurant was open for just over a year and pretty much booked up every weekend.
In my little culinary universe, there are a few cornerstones that signify true carbonara: pancetta (or guanciale), eggs and Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan). Absolutely no cream. And no greenery. That means no peas…
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