Around 2007 we had several exchange youths from the Lions Club stay with us. This was our second time having exchange youths. We did it three times and each time was a great and rewarding experience. That summer we had a three teens stay with us. Two were from the Czech Republic and one from Italy. The two from the Czech Republic made these awesome potato pancakes. I love potato pancakes, but even with a food processor they seem to take a lot of work for some reason. The girl from Italy made spaghetti alla carbonara for us. She even made it without dairy so I could have it. It was delicious. We’ve made it quite often since then. I’ve played with it a bit until I got it to be a little creamier. This simple dish with only a few ingredients: spaghetti, olive oil, pancetta (prosciutto or bacon), egg yolks, salt, and pepper. But don’t let the simplicity of this dish fool you it is quite rich. I was unable to get pancetta once, so I substituted prosciutto and we found that we preferred the prosciutto to the pancetta. You could also use bacon if that is what you have on hand. Also, if you can have dairy, you can always add some freshly grated Parmesan cheese, as Mike likes to do from time to time.
1 lb box of spaghetti
1/3 lb sliced prosciutto (pancetta or bacon), cut into ¼-½ inch pieces
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
4 egg yolks
¼ cup pasta water
salt and pepper to taste
· Bring a large pot of salted water to boil (a pot large enough to hold a whole box of spaghetti).
· Cut up prosciutto.
· In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.
· Add prosciutto and cook until crispy. Turn off burner until right before you add the spaghetti.
· Mix the egg yolks and the 2 tbsp of the extra virgin olive oil in a small bowl.
· Once the water is boiling, add the whole box of pasta to the pot. Set the timer for 6 minutes.
· At minute 5 turn burner under the skillet back on to about medium.
· After the time goes off, taste the pasta. It should be al dente.
· Reserve ¼ cup of the pasta water.
· Transfer the pasta to the skillet.
· Add the remaining olive oil to the pasta and toss with the prosciutto.
· Cook for about 3-5 minutes on medium heat.
· Turn off the heat and very slowly add a little bit of the egg yolk mixture at a time. Tossing in between each addition.
· Add salt and pepper to taste.