Carbonara. A dish that lives or dies by the egg.
When done properly, its one of the most sublime examples of minimalist, technique-driven cooking in the world.
Thankfully, it’s easy to master. Here’s how it works:
Fresh Egg Yolk: Creamy fat.
Guanciale: Smoky fat.
Pecorino Romano: Salty fat.
Fat + pasta water = an emulsion.
I.e., All the flavor of fat in the form of a sauce.
(More a dressing, really, considering how little is needed).
And what a sauce! Devastating in its simplicity, a holy trinity of creamy, smoky, and salty; it needs nothing more.
But if I were being extravagant? Or wanted to test the limits of emulsification? I would add:
Salted Duck Egg Yolk: Umami fat.
Lady and Pups uses a blender. I don’t have a blender, so I freeze the salted yolks and shave it with a microplane into a bowl, before stirring in the other fats for dat emulsion!
When plating, might as well shave a big ol’ pile of the glowy orange umami stuff onto the pasta too, along with plenty of pepper and pecorino.