If you’re intrigued by the idea of “Italian with a California accent,” don't miss Italian My Way (S&S), the new cookbook from chef Jonathan Waxman. His take on classic and delicious spaghetti carbonara will have diners licking their forks.

Spaghetti alla carbonara
Serves 4

I have made this classic dish the same way for years: with olive oil, guanciale (cured jowl of pork), egg yolks and Parmesan. The tried and true is perfection, please believe me. I have had cooks add garlic and onions, peas and mushrooms. Blasphemy!

I have heard a couple different stories for the source of the name. Some people say it refers to miners (carbonari) because of the flecks of black pepper, but I like the story of Giuseppe Mazzini, the revolutionary from Genoa who was a member of a secret group called carbonari, who attempted for years to unify Italy. Regardless, this pasta dish is the world’s richest and most decadent. A wonderfully gifted actress frequents Barbuto and always orders a double carbonara; God bless her!

¼ pound guanciale, diced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound spaghetti
¼ cup grated Parmesan
4 egg yolks
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Cook the guanciale in the olive oil slowly for 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Keep warm.

2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta for 8 minutes and drain, reserving ½ cup of the cooking water.

3. Add the pasta and water to the guanciale pan and bring to a boil. Add the cheese; turn off the heat. Add the yolks all at once and beat furiously for 1 minute. The eggs should not scramble but turn into a smooth sauce. Season with sea salt and black pepper and serve immediately.


Recipe reprinted from Jonathan Waxman’s Italian My Way (Simon & Schuster), copyright 2011, with permission from the publisher. All rights reserved.

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