Issue 07



Recipe by The Communal TablePhotography by Celeste NocheFood Styling by Jenni Grishman

Okay, hold it. If you’re part of the authenticity squad, you may want to turn around and leave. This is my carbonara, and I don’t give a damn if you don’t think cream belongs here. I also don’t care about your rules pertaining to wine and onions. This is a dish that I throw together by my whimsy to please my own sense of delight. Your rules don’t belong here. If your panties are all up in a legitimacy wad, leave whatever you want out, pat yourself on the back for catering to your own fancy, and move on with it.


Put a large pot of water on to boil, and add salt until it tastes briny like the sea. When it comes to a rolling boil, add the bucatini and cook according to package instructions, about 9 to 14 minutes.

In a large pan over low heat, slowly heat the guanciale until the fat starts to render. Add the onion and turn the heat to medium. Cook until the onion is soft and the pork is starting to get a little crispy on the edges. Add the white wine and cook until reduced by half.

Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a large serving bowl. Add the (oh!) splash of cream and the freshly grated cheeses, and stir to combine. Grind a generous—and I mean generous—amount of pepper right into the bowl, keeping the pepper grinder on a setting that’s more cracked than powdered. This dish shines with copious amounts of the black-flecked bits of floral-meets-spicy that only pepper can impart. Go ahead, add even a little more. Don’t stop until you make yourself sneeze. Now that looks good.

When the pasta is finished cooking, transfer the bucatini (or whatever pasta you chose) to the pan with the onions and pork. Turn the heat to medium and add a splash of the starchy pasta cooking water. The pasta starts to look lusterous like it’s dressing up for its own wedding, and in fact, these flavors are busy marrying each other over this tangle of heat. Adding the pasta to the pan like this is making a whole different sauce, a more complete process than putting ingredients together in a bowl; it’s letting the life of the food set up house. When it no longer looks wet, but is a hot, glossy mess of a life, add this mixture to the egg mixture and toss quickly. Garnish with sliced scallions and maybe even another grind or two of pepper. Serve immediately, and whatever you do, savor with delight and gratitude.

*Please note, if you want to make this ahead, you can cook the onion and pork, deglaze with wine and let it reduce, then turn the heat off and let it sit for up to an hour or so. Likewise, you can crack the eggs and shred the cheese and store in the fridge until you’re ready to toss this whole mess together.


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