Today is “Carbonara Day”, the special day that celebrates the famed egg-and-bacon-sauce Spaghetti dish amid a heated debate on the “real” recipe and way of cooking it. Carbonara is perhaps the most loved and imitated pasta dish in the world but also the most controversial. There are many theories for the origin of the name, which may be more recent than the dish itself. Since the name is derived from carbonaro (the Italian word for charcoal burner), some believe the dish was first made as a hearty meal for Italian charcoal workers. In parts of the United States the etymology gave rise to the term “coal miner’s Spaghetti”. It has even been suggested that it was created as a tribute to the Carbonari (“charcoalmen”), a secret society prominent in the early, repressed stages of Italian unification. It seems more likely that it is an urban dish from Rome, although it has nothing to do with the Roman restaurant of the same name. Purists say that only pork tongue and not bacon or even pancetta should be used, while enthusiasts and innovator are about evenly divided over whether to add pecorino or parmigiano cheese with (or without) vegetables or seafoods. Other divisive issues are whether to leave the egg white in with the yolk and whether to add garlic or onion, and whether short pasta such as Rigatoni can be used instead of Spaghetti.
#Carbonaraday has been organised by the International Pasta Organization (IPO) and the Association of Pastry and Pasta Makers (AIDEPI). Follow the hashtag and you can join a debate that will see bloggers, food influencers, journalists and chefs have their say on the dish and more generally on the relationship between tradition and innovation or fusion in cuisine. Italian traditionalists insist there are only five carbonara ingredients: pork tongue, pecorino, eggs, salt and pepper. Innovators think that, since pasta is such a versatile dish, there should be no limits on how carbonara can be interpreted, going as far as culinary science fiction, according to detractors
Here’s how to cook Carbonara in 3 different ways: traditional, with vegetables and with seafoods, a mix of tradition and innovation. Spaghettoni PrimoGrano Rustichella d’Abruzzo (100% of Abruzzo grown wheat) with guanciale from Accumoli and Pecorino romano is the first recipe, made by the young and talented Chef Marco Mazzone of Sciapò Street and Restaurant in Trastevere, the heart of Rome, a real Ambassador of ancient culinary traditions.
320 g di Spaghettoni PrimoGrano Rustichella d’Abruzzo
200 g of Pecorino Romano black peel
120 g of Guanciale from Accumoli
Black Pepper to taste
Put the guanciale in a pan and cook on low flame until it crunchy, then remove guanciale from the pan and put it on a roll of adsorbent papaer.
Beat eggs with black pepper and pecorino romano.
Cook the Spaghettoni PrimoGrano for 10 minutes, then drain the pasta and put it in the pan. Add eggs, black pepper and pecorino romano and mix until it has become cream.
Put Spaghettoni (nest style) in a platter with the help of a wooden spoon, guarnish with crunchy guanciale and grated pecorino romano, then serve.
Carbonara with Zucchini – Serves: 4
300 g of Spaghetti 90″ RAPIDA (90 seconds to cook) by Rustichella d’Abruzzo
2 Eggs, 2 Zucchini and 1 Leek
2 tablespoons of aged Pecorino and 2 tablespoons of grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano
Rustichella d’Abruzzo Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Black Pepper to taste
Boil the water in a pot; in the meantime wash zucchini, then slice it up Julienne style.
Put the leek in a nonstick pan with the extra virgin olive oil, and cook on low flame until browned, then add zucchini and a pinch of salt. In the meantime, beat eggs with grated cheese and a pinch of black pepper. Drain the pasta after 70 seconds and put it in a pan with zucchini. Sauté Spaghetti for 25 seconds.
Turn off the flame and add eggs, then mix all the ingredients until it has become cream.
Serve with grated cheese and black pepper to taste.
Seafood Carbonara – Serves: 4
320 g of Spaghettone del Leone by Rustichella d’Abruzzo
1 Ink, 2 Calamari, 200 g of Prawns and 500 g of Mussels
2 Eggs, 1 Shallot e 1/2 glass of white Wine
2 tablespoons of grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano
Olio Extra Vergine d’Oliva Rustichella d’Abruzzo
Salt and Black Pepper to taste
Open the mussels in a large pan on a medium flame. In the meantime, cut ink and calamari, then shell prawns.
Cook the shallot (chopped) with evo oil until browned, then add ink and blend with white wine. Add calamari and prawns.
Cook the pasta; in the meantime beat eggs with grated cheese until it has become uniform. Drain the pasta and put it in a pan with the seasoing, then cook on a low flame for 30 seconds. Turn off the flame and add eggs.
Mix well all the ingredients until it has become cream. Add black pepper to taste and serve.