Do not mess with carbonara. (Screenshot from "An American in Rome," directed by Steno, 1954)
Well, the French really did it this time. They had the Gallic temerity to make carbonara with farfalle. Not only that, they made the dish using one pot only. Sacré bleu! To all lovers of carbonara — and though I encourage experimentation and evolution in the kitchen, I firmly stand with those who (correctly) state that there is one method, and one method only, of making carbonara — this was sacrilege, sufficient reason to start a war.
The scandalous recipe, which was published on April 7 by French website Demotivateur (and since taken down), was the result of a partnership between the site and an Italian pasta company, Barilla, which reportedly pays Demotivateur to feature its products in editorial content. Boiling guanciale in water with pasta and chopped onion, however, was too much for the Italian conglomerate, so it demanded that the site delete the video. But the damage had already been done. The video of the making of the abomination went viral, Italians everywhere cried fou, and the hashtag #carbonaragate generated thousands upon thousands of comments. No farfalle!
Now, a week later, things have calmed, for the most part. Barilla realized that it had to keep its eyes on the French, the French realized that other nations, too, hold their foodways as sacred, and people around the world were set right about the one true way to make carbonara.
I leave you with a recipe that I use to make the delicious dish, followed by the infamous video. Do not attempt to follow the steps in the video.
Spaghetti Carbonara (serves 4)
Fill a large serving bowl with hot water and set aside. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. While waiting on the water, whisk two room-temperature eggs and one room-temperature egg yolk with 1/3 cup each of grated Parmesan and Pecorino Romano; season with salt and black pepper. In a large skillet, heat 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil; add 4 ounces of guanciale that you’ve sliced into small pieces. Sauté the pork, until the fat barely renders and the edges develop a crisp. Remove from heat.
Now that the water is boiling, add one pound of spaghetti to it and stir. You want your pasta to be a touch firmer than al dente. About 45 seconds before the spaghetti is ready, reheat the guanciale, on low. Drain the pasta, keeping a cup of the water.
Empty the serving bowl and dry it. Put the hot pasta into the bowl and stir in the cheese and egg mixture. You want creaminess, so add some of the pasta water to reach the desired consistency if needed. Add some more pepper if you wish, and some additional cheese, plus chopped parsley if that’s your thing.