I have a confession I hate writing about classic Italian dishes. I love to make them but making an entry about them seems to draw out every Internet troll to tell you how far off base you are. For some reason there is not a cuisine on the face of this planet that will be fought over as much as Italian cuisine. Hell I am willing to bet right now in Bologna there are two men who live across the street from each other and will not talk to each other because they can’t see eye to eye on the proper preparation of a Bolognese sauce.
The beautiful thing about Italian cuisine to me is it is based upon what is available in that area. For example, some areas may use sheep milk’s cheese or others may use pork because that is readily available to them.
I pretty much stole this recipe from Batali. The only change I made was the addition of pecorino romano because I think it plays very well and adds a nice sharpness to the dish.
Also, if you are salt sensitive this dish is not for you since pancetta is very salty combined with two cheeses that are salty and you have a recipe for disaster.
For this recipe you will need:
- 6 ounces of pancetta finely diced
- 4 eggs separated
- 1/2 cup of pecorino romano cheese
- 1 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano (I love typing that out for the record and yes I always say it with some wannabe thick Italian accent)
- 1/2 onion finely diced
- Black pepper
- 1 lb of cooked spaghetti with about 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water
The key to this dish is timing. You want the pasta to be finishing up about the time the pancetta and onions are done. More about this later…
In a large skillet over medium-high add in the pancetta and the onion. Cook until the pancetta and onions are golden brown (about 10 minutes).
Mix in the egg whites with the cheeses and a pinch of black pepper in another bowl.
Once the pancetta and onions are golden brown add in the cooked spaghetti. If the pan is to dry add in some of the reserved pasta water. Stir around to mix everything up.
Remove the pan from the heat and quickly stir in the egg white and cheese mixture. This is why you want to make sure the pasta is hot because the heat from the pasta will gently cook the egg whites and melt the cheese.
You are wondering where does the yolk go? Well plate your pasta and make a bowl in the center and place the yolk in the center. Of course since my arteries were not fully closed I had to grate more cheese over top of the dish.