Penna carbonara, also called penna alla carbonara, is an Italian dish made by tossing boiled penne pasta in the carbonara sauce. The basic ingredients for the carbonara sauce include pancetta, olive oil, salt, black pepper, egg yolks and cheese. Generally parmesan or pecorino cheese in the grated form is used in this dish. While the traditional recipe calls for cured pancetta, the modern variations, particularly the American modifications of the recipe also recommend ham, turkey, seafood, chicken, mushrooms or simply assorted vegetables. The pork used in penna carbonara is generally used in the form of strips or cubes. If chicken or turkey is used, they are generally shredded.
Penne Carbonara Recipe Overview
Ingredients: Pancetta strips, olive oil, sea salt, freshly ground pepper, egg yolks, cream, grated parmesan cheese and penne pasta.
Preparation Overview: The pancetta is fried in the olive oil until it is crisp. The egg yolks are beaten with the cream, seasoned and mixed with some parmesan. The penne is cooked as per the package directions in salted water and then drained. It is then immediately combined with the hot pancetta, the oil and the egg mixture. The combination is stopped cooking once the egg curdles. Rest of the parmesan is sprinkled on the penne and the dish is served hot.
Variations in Penna Carbonara Recipe
Spicy variations of the penna carbonara may also include garlic, onion and chili flakes. Besides, most of the penna carbonaras these days include fresh or dried thyme or parsley for garnish besides the grated cheese. Some recipes even recommend the used of crumbled feta, cream cheese and double or heavy cream. Rarely, recipes for this dish also may suggest the inclusion of nutmeg in the powdered form and toasted nuts, such as pine nuts. Garden peas are also quite favored by some cooks. Then again, while some versions may use minced garlic, the others may prefer garlic scapes.
Pepperoni Penne Carbonara, a recipe popularized in the United States, uses sun-dried tomatoes, butter instead of olive oil, turkey pepperoni and whipping cream for making the dish. This penne dish is served with a garnish of fresh basil leaves. Some American versions of this Italian dish also employ asparagus, rosemary, guinchlie instead of pancetta, chives and fava beans.
The classic penna carbonara yields around 198 calories through penne, 50 calories via pork, 32 calories through parmesan, 30 calories through butter and 10 calories via eggs.