Nothing beats the original Carbonara

9 months ago


Cream, bacon, cheese, and pasta. Sometimes, there’s also the addition of mushrooms. These are the ingredients of the spaghetti carbonara that most Filipinos are familiar with. But did you know that the original recipe from Italy doesn’t include cream? This dish traditionally has only four ingredients: cured pork (pancetta, guanciale, or bacon), cheese (Pecorino Romano and/or Parmigiano-Reggiano), eggs, and spaghetti noodles.

Despite its popularity, the origin of spaghetti carbonara remains unclear, but its name leads to the most compelling clues. The name carbonara may have come from the word carbonai, or charcoal makers. It is believed that the charcoal makers working in the Apennine Mountains near Rome might have invented the dish. Camping for months, the carbonai brought the essential ingredients for carbonara with them: cheese, cured pork, and pasta—all of the ingredients could be kept without the need for refrigeration while eggs could be sourced from nearby farms. Another story tells us that this specialty was brought about during the food shortage during World War II when food rations consisted heavily of powdered egg and bacon which the locals used with pasta and water.

Though its origins may never be settled, one thing is for sure: spaghetti carbonara was brought about by a humble beginning. With only four ingredients to create a classic it proves that sometimes less is more.


Words by Yllaine Sabenecio

Photographed by Floyd Jhocson of Studio 100


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