Carbonara is the perfect pasta when you want to make dinner quickly and only have a few ingredients, you only need 5 not counting salt and pepper. Classically carbonara uses guanciale, which is cured pork jowl (its delicious) but if you can't find that use pancetta or bacon. The egg yolks make this so creamy and the secret to making sure not to scramble your eggs is tempering them with lots and lots of pasta cooking water.
Your Time: 20 minutes
4 ounces diced guanciale, pancetta or bacon
3 scallions thinly sliced, about 1/3 cup
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound spaghetti
Season a large pot of water with a handful of salt. Bring the water to a boil, the salt will dissolve in the water. Taste the water, it should taste very salty, if you don't taste salt add more.
While the water comes to a boil, add the guanciale to a large sauté pan over medium-low heat, cook until the fat has rendered and the meat is very crispy. The guanciale, pancetta or bacon should release its own natural fat as you cook it but if it's not you can add a splash of olive oil. When the guanciale is crispy, turn the heat down to low. Remove any excess fat in the pan, leaving about 1 tablespoon. Add the scallions and cook an additional 1-2 minutes or until the scallions just soften, but they do not lose their bright green color. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
In a medium bowl whisk together the egg yolks, Parmesan and season generously with freshly cracked black pepper. Set aside.
Add the spaghetti to the boiling water and cook until al dente, about 2 minutes less than the package directions. The pasta should be cooked through but still have a bite to it. Reserve 2 cups of the pasta cooking liquid before straining out the pasta.
Temper the egg yolks by whisking in 1 cup of the pasta water. Set the remaining cup of water aside.
Add the cooked pasta to the sauté pan with the crispy guanciale and scallions. Toss it all together so it is evenly combined. Add in the tempered egg yolk mixture and then place the pan back over low heat. Stirring constantly, cook until the sauce thickens and coats the pasta, this can take a few minutes, but don't increase the heat to make the sauce thicken faster or you risk the egg yolks cooking. If the sauce gets too thick you can add in more pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time, until you reach a smooth, silky pasta sauce that coats the spaghetti. Season with more freshly cracked black pepper and salt to taste.
Serve immediately with more grated Parmesan to garnish.