Carbonara-Style Eggs

carbonara-style eggs

I love traveling, not only for the usual reasons like going on an adventure, experiencing a new culture, stepping outside of my comfort zone, but also for the food. Mainly for the food! With every trip I take I get inspired by all those delicious meals, whether it's a sandwich from a street vendor or a sit-down meal at an elegant restaurant. Eating the foods of another culture is greatly inspiring! And no place has inspired me as much as Italy has. The gastronomy varies so much from region to region, and those differences and subtleties are what make Italian cuisine so unique!

I have a special place in my heart for Rome. It was the first Italian destination I visited. And Roman cuisine has always been one of my favorites. However having authentic Roman cuisine in Rome is a completely different experience than eating it anywhere else in the United States. I've always loved carbonara, and have had many amazing renditions of it, my favorite being Jonathan Waxman's at Barbuto in New York City. If I'm remembering correctly that was the first carbonara I've ever eaten, somewhere back in 2011 or 2012. At the time I was working at Food Network, and my team took me out to lunch to celebrate my joining the network. I have to say that carbonara was love at first sight!

For years and years since I've cooked my own carbonara at home, but it wasn't until my first trip to Rome in 2021 that I had an authentic carbonara in its birthplace. Then this past summer on a subsequent trip to Rome, I rented a small attic apartment with a terrace (called "un attico con terrazzo" in Italian) so that I could cook a few meals during my stay. I bought all the ingredients to either make pasta alla carbonara or alla gricia. But what I ended up doing was inventing this Roman breakfast, these carbonara-style eggs.

This recipe includes all the makings of carbonara except for the pasta. You've got the prerequisite guanciale and pecorino, as well as the necessary eggs. I do add a scallion to cut through the richness. That single addition is my divergence from the classic carbonara ingredients. Then, of course, I finish the dish with quite a few fresh grindings of black pepper, the ingredient after which carbonara was named!

This is the kind of breakfast I like to start my days before sightseeing because it's packed with energy. Although the coffee and pastry breakfast tradition in Italy is appealing, I'm always left hungry. So, for me breakfast will always include eggs! Buon appetito!

Carbonara-Style Eggs

Note: I often use guanciale that is coated with black pepper. If you don't find this type of guanciale, then you'll want to add some black pepper to the skillet just after the guanciale has rendered. Let the pepper toast for 1 minute.

1 ounce black-peppered guanciale, sliced into lardon
1 scallion, sliced, with whites and greens separated
freshly ground black pepper
3 eggs
fine sea salt
pecorino, for grating

In a small skillet set over medium heat, render the guanciale until it's three-quarters the way crisp and much of the fat has released, about 5 minutes.

Add the white parts of the scallion (and some of the dark green parts) to the skillet. Saute until the scallion has softened, about 3 minutes.

Crack the eggs over the skillet. Scatter over with the dark green parts of the scallion. Cover with a lid, and let the eggs steam through so that the whites are fully firm, but the yolks remain runny, about 5 minutes.

Slide the eggs out onto a plate. Season the yolks with a little bit of salt. Grate a bountiful amount of pecorino over top. Season with many grindings of black pepper. Serve immediately. Yield: 1 serving.


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