This extraordinary recipe is from Cooks Illustrated, September 2001. Spaghetti Carbonara is so sinfully delicious that I eat it only once a year, ideally at the Winter Solstice celebration.
Spaghetti Carbonara makes an appearance in the movie of Nora Ephron’s Heartburn, when Rachel (the Meryl Streep character) serves it to Mark (the Jack Nicholson character) in bed on their first date.
I recommend accompanying Spaghetti Carbonara with the best bubbly that you can afford. Red wine would also be delicious, but not as festive.
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ pound bacon (6 to 8 slices) halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into ¼-inch pieces
½ cup dry white wine
3 large eggs
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated (3/4 cup)
¾ ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated (about ¼ cup)
3 small cloves garlic, minced
1 pound spaghetti
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, set large heatproof bowl on rack, and heat oven to 200°F.
Bring 4 quarts of water to rolling boil in large pot on stove top.
While water is heating, heat oil in large skillet over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly brown and crisp, about 8 minutes. Add wine and simmer until alcohol aroma has cooked off and wine is slightly reduced, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm. Beat eggs, cheese, and garlic together with fork in small bowl; set aside.
When water comes to boil, add pasta and 1 tablespoon table salt; stir to separate pasta. Cook until al dente; reserve 1/3 cup cooking water and drain pasta for about 5 seconds, leaving pasta slightly wet. Transfer drained pasta to warm serving bowl; if pasta is dry, add some reserved cooking water and toss to moisten. Immediately pour egg mixture over hot pasta, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes or ¾ teaspoon table salt; toss well to combine. Pour bacon mixture over pasta, season generously with black pepper, and toss well to combine. Serve immediately.