What we love about this rigatoni carbonara
We love how indulgent this dish is. It’s savory and salty, and smothered in a rich, creamy sauce. It’s a truly unique experience, with sauce that’s incredibly creamy without a touch of milk or cream.
That’s the key to classic carbonara – the eggs make the magic. In fact, we love this traditional technique so much that we’ve used it our creamy Tiktok ramen and Melissa’s lemony dairy free pasta carbonara.
Here’s what you’ll need to make it
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Ingredients you might need to pick up
- Rigatoni – You can use any type of pasta you prefer.
- Eggs – Allowing the eggs to come to room temperature before making the sauce will help prevent them from scrambling.
- Pancetta – This is traditionally made with either guanciale (an Italian cured pork) or pancetta, both can be substituted with bacon if needed.
- Pecorino romano cheese – Fresh grated for this recipe is the best, this will help ensure a smooth sauce. Pre-grated cheeses have cellulose powders to help prevent clumping, when they are mixed into a hot sauce the cellulose powders can make it lumpy and grainy.
- Garlic – This isn’t in traditional carbonara sauce, but we just can’t say no to some garlic, so it’s here. Feel free to skip it if you want.
How to make this rigatoni carbonara recipe
Cook the rigatoni. Boil pasta to al denté in a pot of salted water. Reserve ½ cup of pasta water, drain and set aside.
Fry the pancetta. Over medium heat in a large skillet, fry pancetta until it is crispy. Remove from heat and transfer the pancetta to a cutting board. When the pancetta has cooled slightly, chop into bite sized pieces and set aside.
Simmer the garlic. In the large skillet used for the pancetta, simmer minced garlic over medium heat until aromatic then remove it from the heat.
Make the sauce. Whisk eggs with pecorino cheese and black pepper in a mixing bowl. Slowly whisk about a tablespoon of warm pasta water into the egg mixture to temper the eggs, continuing to whisk throughout. Then slowly whisk in the garlic and pancetta drippings.
Combine pasta with sauce. Return pasta to the pot and stir sauce in slowly, over low heat. Continue to stir and cook until sauce thickens. Stir in chopped pancetta and season with additional black pepper.
Everything you need to know about carbonara sauce
Carbonara sauce is made with tempered eggs, pecorino romano cheese, and guanciale or pancetta. It’s a savory sauce known for its luxurious texture.
You start with raw eggs to create carbonara sauce, however as you temper the eggs and add the hot cooked pasta the eggs slowly heat and are considered to be cooked when its ready to be served.
A few tips for preventing the scrambling of carbonara sauce: Make sure you only mix the sauce when the pan has been removed from the heat. Slowly adding heat (tempering the eggs with hot pasta water) to the eggs is of the most importance. Move quickly to ensure there is not a moment when the eggs can get slightly more cooked than desired.
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12 ounces rigatoni pasta (340g)
4 ounces pancetta (113g)
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup pecorino romano cheese, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Salt, to taste
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions for al dente. Before draining, reserve about 1/2 cup pasta water (or more). Drain and set aside.
- In a large skillet, cook the pancetta over medium heat until crispy. Transfer the cooked pancetta to a cutting board and roughly chop it. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, grated Parmesan cheese, and black pepper until well combined.
- In the same skillet used to cook the pancetta, sauté the garlic for about 30 seconds (or until fragrant). Remove from heat and set aside.
- Slowly stream the heated pasta water into the eggs, whisking continuously to temper them. Then, slowly whisk in the sautéd garlic and any remaining oils from cooking the pancetta.
- Return the pasta to the pot and slowly stir in the sauce over low heat. Continue to cook, stirring continuously until the sauce thickens.
- Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper before serving.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Rigatoni
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian
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