Giada De Laurentiis' Trick For Silky Carbonara

There are few things as comforting as pasta night. Whether you go out for pasta or cook it at home, dishes like Ragu Alla Bolognese or classic spaghetti and meatballs are sure to satisfy. If you have a gluten sensitivity or allergy, there are even a variety of gluten-free pastas on the market to choose from so pasta night can be inclusive and fun.

Of all the pasta dishes you might make that home, there are a few that can mystify or stump even the best home cooks — and one of those is pasta carbonara. Made most often from pancetta or guanciale, parmigiana or pecorino cheese mixed with raw eggs and yolks, carbonara is rich and delicious, but tricky. It takes the perfect balance to mix the cheese and raw eggs slowly enough with the hot pasta and pork that you don't up with pasta alla scrambled eggs. 

If you love carbonara but you've struggled with it in the past, celebrity chef Giada de Laurentiis has a trick that can help.

Get an assist from the pasta water

According to her website, Chef Giada de Laurentiis likes to use a little bit of pasta water to help her pasta carbonara achieve the perfect consistency. She explains that the key to perfect carbonara is a nice silky sauce texture, not a chunky scrambled egg texture. She suggests that you use a little bit of hot pasta water to help temper the egg and cheese mixture before mixing it with the pasta and pancetta or guanciale. Similarly to how you might temper eggs for a baking recipe, the pasta water helps warm the egg mixture slightly without scrambling them, which can occur when eggs reach a temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, per Bon Appétit.

Bon Appétit suggests you reserve 1 cup of hot pasta water for your carbonara sauce once your pasta is cooked. You can set this aside while you drain the pasta and then move the pasta to the pan with the sautéed pork. Before adding the egg and cheese mixture to the pan, slowly add small amounts of the hot pasta water while stirring it gently. Once the egg mixture has been warmed by tempering, add it to the pan and give it a good stir off the heat before serving. 

Next time you host pasta night you'll be prepared to impress!