Don’t listen to the French: the 6 steps to cook the perfect carbonara

The perfect carbonara (

Italians went mad about the French reinvention of the traditional carbonara recipe, which recently appeared in a video the blog Demotivateur. The French attempt features boiled bacon, creme fraiche and a raw egg on the top. The video caused what was called the carbonara war on The Guardian, that said the ‘offending carbonara’ video was requested and paid by the big Italian pasta maker Barilla. The company admitted its mistake and forced Demotivateur to remove the video, saying ‘the website had gone too far’. La Repubblica, one of the biggest newspaper in Italy, said the French tried to destroy in 46 seconds (the lenght of the video) the reputation of a traditional Italian dish.

The Carbonaragate seems over. And now it’s time to ask the real experts, the Italians, how to cook the perfect carbonara.

Carbonara is an old recipe born in Italian region of Lazio and now famous all around the world. There are many versions about its history - it seems to be a dish invented by carbonari (coal miners), but there are a few pillars about this recipe that cannot be misunderstood. We don’t know if the French cousins were just joking, but we know what not to do to cook a good carbonara.

1. Never use short pasta

Traditionally, you use long pasta to cook carbonara, like spaghetti or linguine. It is not an aesthetic issue. If you use short pasta, like farfalle, as the French did in the video, the sauce is not going to mix properly with the pasta.

2. Do not use bacon

Guanciale, an Italian cured meat, is a speciality of Central Italy you can use not only for carbonara, but also for pasta all’amatriciana. However, sometimes it can be difficult to find guanciale, so you can use pancetta as well. But do not try to choose any kind of other salami.

3. Do not use any spice or vegetables

Just add a bit of salt and freshly ground pepper. Avoid any decoration or any parsnip on top of it. There is no need to add any onion or garlic, carbonara is a very simple plate.

4. Do not use any kind of crème

We all know that creme makes any dish tasting better. Well, not always. There are a few recipes with creme, like tortellini con la panna, but the other ones do not need creme at all. Like carbonara.

5. Do not boil pasta with the other ingredients

Pasta boils in a pan with salted water. In the meanwhile guanciale fries in a different pan with no oil. Please do not put all the ingredients together and do not put pasta in the kettler.

6. Use a mix of Parmesan and Pecorino

No cheddar, no Philadelphia, just simply a bit of Italian Parmesan and Pecorino, hard Italian cheese made from ewe’s milk.

Now go to the kitchen, repeat all the steps and your carbonara will be perfect.


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