If you’ve gone on a date in New York City and wanted to give the impression of propriety, then you’ve likely been to L’Apicio, L’Artusi, dell’anima or Anfora, the Italian restaurants run by Gabe Thompson, Katherine Thompson and Joe Campanale. This recipe, from the trio’s first cookbook, Downtown Italian, is the version of spaghetti carbonara that Gabe Thompson cooks in the restaurants. — Jeremy Berger
This dish combines two classic elements from two different regions of Italy. Tajarin is an egg yolk-based noodle traditionally served in Piedmont with truffles. Carbonara is a Roman dish that incorporates bacon, cheese, and black pepper (never scallions, but I like them). The carbonara sauce is thickened by gently heating an egg yolk in the mixture. My former chef de cuisine at dell’anima, Mike Berardino, preferred to serve the egg yolk raw on top of the pasta, so guests can toss the yolk into the dish and create their own sauce. — Gabe Thompson
Tajarin Alla Carbonara
Serves 4 to 6
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces speck (see note) or prosciutto, thinly sliced and cut into 1-inch pieces
8 scallions, outer leaves removed, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 cup chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water
12 ounces tajarin, or egg yolk pasta
3 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for garnish
4 to 6 large eggs, at room temperature
1. Place 2 tablespoons of the butter, the speck, scallions, and pepper in a large sauté pan over high heat.
2. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until the speck is slightly crispy on the edges and starts to turn a light golden brown.
3. Add the stock and simmer until the liquid reduces by half, about 2 minutes. Turn the heat to low while cooking the pasta. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season the water generously with salt.
4. Place the tajarin in the boiling water and cook until just al dente, 1 to 2 minutes. Taste the pasta to make sure it is slightly chewy in the center.
5. Transfer the pasta from the boiling water to the sauce and toss together. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and the 3 tablespoons grated Pecorino. Toss the ingredients together on low heat until the butter melts into the sauce. Distribute the pasta among warm serving bowls.
6. Working over a clean bowl, crack 1 egg and separate the yolk from the white. Carefully place the yolk on top of 1 pasta serving. Repeat with the remaining eggs and pasta servings. (Discard egg whites or save for another use.)
7. Crack some black pepper over each yolk. Garnish each serving with additional grated cheese. Serve immediately.
Note: Speck is an Italian smoked prosciutto from Alto Adige. If it’s unavailable, regular prosciutto, bacon, or pancetta can be used instead.