This pasta is a classic for a reason – it brings together simple elements of egg, pecorino and guanciale into creamy, salty, meaty harmony. Traditionally only pecorino is used, but you can substitute half Parmigiano Reggiano if you prefer.
- 400 g dried spaghetti
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 200 g guanciale, diced
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 tsp salt flakes
- 1 tbsp ground black pepper
- 200 g (½ cup) grated pecorino
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
- Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Drop in the spaghetti and stir to separate the stands, then cook until nicely al dente.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over low heat. Add the guanciale and gently fry until the fat has rendered and is crisp.
- Beat the egg yolks, salt and pepper until well combined, then stir in the pecorino.
- Using a spaghetti spoon, transfer the spaghetti straight into the pan, dragging a little of the cooking water with it, and toss with the guanciale to allow the flavours to combine. Reserve a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water.
- Take the pan off the heat, add the egg and cheese mixture and stir through very quickly to avoid overcooking the egg, adding a little of the reserved pasta water if it looks a little dry. Add a little more cheese to bring the temperature down and amalgamate. The residual heat of the pan, spaghetti and cooking water will gently cook the egg, but keep it nice and creamy.
- Grind over a bit more pepper if you like and serve straight away.
Silvia Colloca shares her Italian family secrets in the brand-new third season of Cook like an Italian.