Spaghetti alla Carbonara for Real

I've never been obsessed with recipe authenticity. If you want to call your bagel half spread with sauce and cheese, a pizza, well, more power to you. I will, of course, make fun of you behind your back, but publicly I'll defend you enthusiastically.

I remember posting a ceviche recipe years ago, which had some diced mango mixed in. I received at least a dozen emails from Peruvian readers, not suggesting, but demanding that I change the name.

Their point was simple; true ceviche never features mango. My point was equally straightforward; mine does. So, while I normally don't worry too much about such matters, sometimes I do enjoy demonstrating a recipe in its original form, simply because I find it interesting.

Here I'm doing a spaghetti alla carbonara, as the recipe was made before people started "cheating," and started adding cream. Spaghetti alla carbonara's "creamy" sauce is simply a thin egg and cheese custard, spiked with pork and black pepper. People add cream because they're afraid of scrambling the eggs. But, if you follow the steps in the video, this will not be an issue.

By the way, there are many theories for where the name "carbonara" comes from. The one I officially endorse is that the name was inspired by the specks of black pepper in the sauce, which look like particles of charcoal. It just makes the most sense.

Speaking of authentic, try and find some pancetta or
guanciale, which is cured like pancetta, but made from pork cheek. Those two products are not smoked, which works much better in this delicious pasta. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 2 portions:
6-8 oz dry spaghetti (or any pasta)
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 oz pancetta, guanciale, or in a pinch, a mildy smoked bacon
fresh coarsely ground black pepper
2 eggs
about 3/4 cup grated Italian cheese (a half Pecorino Romano and half Parmigiano-Reggiano blend is perfect)

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