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We ask an Italian chef how to make carbonara

As London’s Carbonara Day approaches, we ask Roman chef Arcangelo Dandini how to make the dish authentic (sorry, no cream allowed)

By Angela Hui
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What makes a real carbonara? 
Guanciale (an Italian cured meat product prepared from pork jowl or cheeks), pecorino cheese and egg yolk. 

What are the must-have ingredients? 
Guanciale, absolutely, because the taste is totally different with it.

Is it acceptable to use cream?
Cream? Are you joking? What makes the dish creamy is adding pasta water during the preparation, which releases the guanciale’s fat.

Does it matter what type of pasta you use? 
It matters! Spaghetti is the most popular type, but rigatoni also or mezze maniche are good, because they have grooves that keep the sauce. 

Any tips for those trying to cook at home on not splitting the sauce and scrambling the eggs? 
Do not use onion or garlic or olive oil. Use the fat from the guanciale. Once you combine the pasta with the ‘cream’ [yolks and cheese], be sure to not mix them on the flame. And if you want to be sure about the taste, invite some Italian friends to judge it.

Arcangelo Dandini is head chef of L’Arcangelo restaurant in Rome. Watch him prepare his signature carbonara on Mudchute Farm for Carbonara Day. Find out more here

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