Bucatini with crispy pancetta, fresh eggs, Italian parsley and Pecorino Romano cheese is a decadent and über satisfying pasta recipe that is quick and (relatively) easy to make. It does take a bit of practice but it's worth the effort! This recipe is very similar to my spaghetti alla carbonara recipe. Same basic approach, just a little twist on the main ingredients. Like spaghetti alla carbonara, Bucatini alla carbonara is an all-time favorite pasta recipe. In fact, Chef Gino, featured in the video below, declares it to be his personal, all-time favorite pasta dish. His enthusiasm, like the dish itself, is infectious!
This recipe is featured in the cookbook: "Pasta 101 - 12 Easy Pasta
Recipes You Can Make in Under 30 Minutes."
The shape of bucatini pasta is a rather unusual one. It looks like a slightly fatter version of spaghetti but the long, round strands are actually hollow little tubes. (The name comes from Italian: buco, meaning "hole", while bucato means "pierced"). This pasta shape may not be available at your local grocery store but it's worth hunting down at a specialty shop -- or order some online and have it shipped to you door.
This recipe also calls for pancetta, rather than bacon. Pancetta is a cut of pork belly that has a salty, smoky flavor, sometimes with added pepper and spices, that is very rich and savory.
The cheese used in this recipe is Pecorino Romano, a sheep's milk cheese that has sharper flavor than Parmesan. Here's some info on the cheese...
"Pecorino is a term used to define Italian cheeses made from 100% sheep’s milk. However, the American counterpart of the cheese is made from cow’s milk. Of the four Pecorino cheeses that have received Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status under European Union law, Pecorino Romano is one of the most ancient types of cheese as well as the most famous outside of Italy. As per legislation, production of Pecorino Romano is allowed only on the islands of Sardinia, Lazio and in the Tuscan Province of Grosseto. All these varieties differ from each other, depending on how much they have aged.
Pecorino Romano is one of most widely used, sharper alternatives to Parmesan cheeses. Because of the hard texture and sharp & salty flavor, Pecorino Romano is an excellent grating cheese over pasta dishes, breads and baking casseroles. Although, the use of the cheese is limited because of its extreme saltiness. Pair it with a glass of big, bold Italian red wine or a light beer."
- see cheese.com for more on this specialty product.
Watch this high-energy video with Chef Gino D'Acampo on how to make his favorite pasta dish (mine too!).
Bucatini with Pancetta, Eggs and Pecorino Romano
Bucatini all carbonara (pancetta, eggs and Pecorino Romano cheese) is a great, quick dinner, fabulous late-night supper or decadent weekend treat. Use 1 large egg per person and don't scrimp on the pancetta or cheese. Yum!
- 1 (16 oz) package of bucatini pasta
- 1 tablespoon salted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 oz. pancetta, diced
- a handful of FRESH Italian flat-leaf parsley, rough chopped (1/4 cup)
- 3-4 large fresh eggs
- 1 cup of Pecorino Romano cheese, grated fine
- salt & fresh-cracked black pepper
- Put a large pot of water on to boil.
- While the water is heating...Melt the butter in a large saucepan on medium-high. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to keep the butter from burning. Add the diced pancetta and sauté until nice and crispy, about 5 minutes. Keep warm on low.
- While the pancetta is browning...Rough chop the fresh parsley. Don't mince it too fine or the essential oils will end up on the cutting board instead of in the dish!
- Break the eggs into a bowl, add the parsley and half of the grated Pecorino Romano and season lightly with salt and pepper. Be careful as the pancetta and cheese are also salty! Wisk together until well combined. Set aside.
- When the water is at a rolling boil, add 2 tablespoons of salt and drop in the pasta. Stir to prevent the pasta from sticking. Cook according to the package directions or until just al dente or firm to the bite, stirring occasionally. Remember it will continue cooking in the sauce pan so drain it a minute before the time on the package for best results.
- Just before the pasta is done, carefully reserve some of the pasta water 1/2 cup or so and set aside.
- Drain the pasta and add it directly to the hot pan on low. Stir to coat well. REMOVE THE PAN FROM THE HEAT. Add the egg mixture and stir it all together very quickly. You have to keep it moving to prevent the eggs from becoming scrambled eggs. Add in the reserves pasta water, a splash at a time, to smooth out the sauce as necessary. The eggs, pasta water and pancetta oil will cook the eggs and form a rich, yellow creamy sauce. Just keep stirring it until everything is well combined.
- Plate and garnish with the remainder of the Pecorino Romano and fresh-cracked black pepper.
You can use any shape pasta for this dish...spaghetti, linguini, fettucine or even bowties or shells. You can substitute bacon or guanciale (pork jowels) for the pancetta. Parmesan is a good substitute for the cheese or use a blend of both. This one's a keeper!
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