I have a question about the egg making the sauce for the carbonara. Exactly how "eggy", if at all, is it supposed to taste? My problem is I don't like the taste of eggs on their own. I'll eat a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich if I'm starving, but I'd rather do without the egg. I want to try making this the real way at least once so I'm going to do that tonight, but should the egg be a prominent flavor component in this dish? I've never had or made this dish, so I don't know exactly what I'm looking for. If I wind up not liking my results, I'm not above omitting the egg, subbing in some cream and then calling it almost-carbonara-but-not-really for the authenticity police.
If, as you should, you use high-quality fresh eggs, they will have taste, which should be the taste of egg. Fortunately the authenticity police can offer you a solution to keep you from the slippery slope of making excuses for adding cream and making snide remarks about the authenticity police, who have feelings too.
What you should be making instead of carbonara is spaghetti alla gricia, also known as amatriciana bianca. It contains guanciale, pecorino, and pasta, period.
I spent the day in Amatrice today for the sagra degli spaghetti all'amatriciana (pleasant, but not thrilling). We discovered a wonderful pork shop and bought some special preservative-free guanciale made from a special black pig, but that is another story. At the pork shop, I picked up a flyer giving recipes for gricia, amatriciana, and carbonara. At the bottom of the page it appends three lists, which presumably apply to all three recipes. I translate:
Obligatory ingredients: guanciale, pecorino, pelati/sanmarsani [sic] (canned peeled or San Marzano tomatoes), spaghetti or bucatini
Permissible ingredients: short pasta, red pepper, black pepper, dry wine
Forbidden ingredients: pancetta, onion/garlic, celery/carrot, sweet, tart, or Pachino (cherry) tomatoes
A footnote explains that the wine and pepper are modern additions. The wine cuts the grease, and the pepper is used because the curing process of the guanciale nowadays doesn’t always observe traditional practice.
Anybody want to take on those authenticity police?
Maureen B. Fant