Guanciale and Spaghetti Carbonara

GuancialeBack on the 1st November I started to make some Guanciale. I took two cheeks from our large black pig and put it in a salt and pepper cure for 11.5 days.

Guanciale I used the recipe from Lamb Curing and Smoking (182) but it isn’t really clear whether he means you to use 3% or 30% in salt to the cheeks’ weight. I used 30% to be on the safe side. The cheeks were 1.9kg so I used 525g of salt and 110g  cracked pepper. I mixed the cure together and then put it with the cheeks in a plastic bag and left it in the fridge, massaging it regularly to distribute the cure for 11.5 days.

Pig cheeks

After this I rinsed the cheeks in water, dried them and hung them in my gamesafe to air dry. I left them there for 4 weeks. I then tasted – delicious, but a little salty. I need to check some other recipes to work out the required proportion of salt to meat.

Guanciale in pieces

We had some with pasta with sage and roast squash and then on Friday I made a carbonara with it. I used the recipe by Mario Batali

Spaghetti Carbonara: spaghetti, about 4-6oz of guanciale chopped, parmesan grated, two very, very fresh eggs (free-range of course – who would buy anything else??) separated. Serves 2

Fry the guanciale until it is crispy. I fried mine in a little lard. Try not to eat all of it out of the pan – this is why you need to fry up a bit more than you actually need – Mario says 4 oz for two people, but I know that I will have to keep testing it so fried up 6oz!). Cook your spaghetti. Take a little bit of the pasta cooking water and add to the guanciale (1/8 cup maybe 1 tbs). Add the pasta to the pan with the guanciale, and stir, then add the egg whites and stir – you pan should not be on the heat at this point. Add most of the parmesan and stir. Put the pasta in bowls and make a little nest for the egg yolk. Pop the egg yolk in, sprinkle over some more parmesan and grind some pepper on top – serve – you stir the egg yolk into the pasta yourself. It was very very nice.

Spaghetti Carbonara


I will be making this again …..

One response to “Guanciale and Spaghetti Carbonara

  1. Pingback: Take one head | smallholding dreams·

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