Carbonara Secrets Revealed: The No-Fuss Take on the ‘Real’ Pasta Dish from a Famous French Chef
I know I promised a recipe of this authentic Carbonara before. I’m sorry, that was a few months ago. Time has a way of getting away from me.
Before we dive into the delicious details, let me tell you that this recipe was taught to us by Chef Xavier Btesh of the French Kusina fame, who also taught us how to make this Nicoise Salad at The Maya Kitchen. Born in Paris to a French-Italian mother and a Syrian-Iraqi Jewish father, Btesh has been traveling around the world since an early age. He endeavors to share the true flavors of French and Italian cuisine with locals and visitors alike. It was during one of his pasta masterclasses at The Maya Kitchen that he taught us how to make this lighter, European-style carbonara.
As many of you know, carbonara is an Italian staple dish consisting of egg, pork (usually guanciale or pancetta), pecorino romano cheese, and pepper tossed with hot pasta. So simple yet so delicious. However, over the years it seems some Filipino and American versions have added cream to the mix, which Chef Xavier assured us is not tradition. “The cream is probably an American influence that’s made its way into Filipino cooking,” he explained.
If you’re looking for our creamy Filipino Carbonara Recipe, you better head on to that link but if you’re in for a little food adventure, please try this version! Chef Xavier assured us that this authentic carbonara is very light and easy to make and I liked it despite my initial protestations. The pure flavors of egg, black pepper, and cheese danced beautifully on my palate, transporting my soul if not my body halfway across the world. Perhaps it’s the evocative description or flavors themselves, but I swear I could even smell the crisp Mediterranean air and sounds of lively conversation drift through imaginary open windows.
If you’re imagining something long and laborious, you’d be surprised. It’s actually very easy and with fewer steps than I would have expected it to be – being a French Recipe. I was surprised too because I thought it would be very costly like those Italian restaurant pasta. Now I can actually serve this at home on a whim!
Here is Chef Xavier Btesh version of the authentic carbonara. Enjoy!
Tricks for the best Authentic Carbonara
- Quickly whisk those eggs before adding them to the hot pasta – this helps them coat each noodle nicely without scrambling.
2. For maximum creaminess, use pecorino romano if you can find it. Its tangy saltiness is chef’s kiss. This recipe uses Parmesan because pecorino romano is a bit hard to find.
3. Go heavy on the black pepper – a generous few grinds will take this dish to the next level. Black pepper is key to that authentic Carbonara flavor profile.
4. Cook the noodles just until al dente and immediately remove from heat. This keeps them from overcooking further once tossed with the hot egg mixture. But do NOT rinse it in cold water. It needs to be hot when you mix the sauce.
5. Toss ingredients together rapidly to coat but don’t overmix. A light coating is all you need – the residual heat will finish cooking the egg.
6. Garnish with a sprinkle of chopped parsley if you like a pop of green, but it’s totally optional. This is a simple pasta that really lets the core flavors shine!
So if you’re looking for a flavorful yet simple weeknight meal, or just want to treat yourself to a taste of la dolce vita, I highly recommend giving this authentic carbonara recipe a whirl. It may become a new favorite in your regular dinner rotation as it has in mine. And who knows, perhaps with each bite you’ll find yourself transported as well, if only for a moment, to the charm and comfort of places unfamiliar yet familiar all at once. Buon appetito!
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A bit of something I found interesting is that I noticed Chef Xavier measures by the espresso cup (which is about 4 tablespoons). I just thought I’d mention it in case you’re wondering why the measurement is using espresso cups. :P
Yes, it doesn’t have guanciale which is an Italian cured meat. If you really must add a protein but can’t find this ingredient, you can use either pancetta or bacon -which makes it a not-so-authentic recipe but to each his own, right?
Also, it doesn’t have to be linguini, really. I’m sure you can get away with either fettucini or just regular old spaghetti. Cheers! ;)
Relish the simple,