According to most food experts and historians it was invented during the Allied liberation of the Eternal City from German troops (WWII). US troops had bacon and powdered eggs with them whereas Romans had stocks of pasta. Mixing these ingredients, Carbonara came out as a result.
Given the hazy origins of this pasta recipe, its ingredients are not totally clear-cut either. Short or long pasta? Bacon or guanciale – lard from the pig’s cheek? Pecorino or a mix of parmesan and pecorino? The whole egg of just egg yolk? There is only one thing for sure, never ever put cream as most Italian restaurants abroad do. Egg is the main ingredient of the yellowish cream of Carbonara!
And here are our top ten restaurants with their distinguishing recipe, cooking and presentation features.
1 Roscioli. Yolk egg only, sarawak pepper, thick spaghetti.
2 L’Arcangelo. Short pasta, rigatoni, very, very al dente even for roman standards which means it is nearly raw!
3 Antico Falcone. You can choose the pasta you prefer, served in a soup tureen rather than an ordinary dish
4 Pipero al Rex. Price depends on quantity. Standard size: 50 grams.
5 Felice. Bacon, rather than guanciale, and spaghetti.
6 Checchino. Classic version
7 la Pergola. Very innovative version, with a zabaione egg-filled bundle.
8 Open Colonna. Negative of Carbonara. Egg, parmesan and pecorino are inside a rough tortello
9 Taverna Trilussa. Served in a pan
10 Armando al Pantheon. Spaghetti, guanciale and pecorino.
If you’re also interested in other typical Roman pasta recipes such as Cacio e Pepe, read this!