Yield: 4 to 6 servings
This is not even close to the traditional carbonara. This is a great starter carbonara because the it is almost impossible to scramble the eggs, which is an immediate threat any time you’re making traditional carbonara. The sauce is so creamy and surprisingly light from the tanginess of the crème fraiche. If you can’t finish this in one sitting, reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta water to use when reheating; add a tablespoon or two to each serving and mix while reheating.
8 ounces dried linguine, fettuccine or spaghetti
4 ounces guanciale, pancetta or bacon, diced
1 cup crème fraiche
1 cup heavy cream
5 egg yolks
1 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano, finely grated
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 cup chives, finely minced
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. When boiling, cook the pasta according to package directions.
In the meantime, mix the crème fraiche, heavy cream and egg yolks in a medium mixing bowl until thoroughly combined. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the guanciale when heated and sauté until crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside for 3 to 4 minutes to cool. When cooled slightly, add the guanciale to the cream mixture to temper, whisking constantly. Add the entire mixture back to the skillet off the heat. Return to medium-low heat and whisk frequently until the mixture starts to thicken, about the same time it will take to cook the pasta. When the pasta is al dente, add to the sauce, using tongs to move the pasta around the pan and coat with the sauce. Cook for about 5 to 8 minutes over medium heat, until the mixture is thickened and coats the pasta. Add the cheese, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Taste before serving and adjust the seasonings accordingly.
Using the tongs, twirl the pasta in the center of each of four bowls. Sprinkle with the chives and grind some fresh pepper over the top. Grate fresh Parmesan cheese over before serving.