Food - Drink
The Ingredient Traditional Carbonara Never Uses
You may think of carbonara as pasta in a cream sauce, but many chefs would raise their eyebrows at this description. Traditional carbonara is made with very few ingredients, meaning the quality and authenticity of these ingredients is important, and one part of many carbonara recipes doesn't really belong in carbonara at all.
Chef Mitch Orr says that a proper carbonara uses five ingredients: egg yolks, Pecorino Romano, guanciale, black pepper, and spaghetti — no heavy cream. Orr says that Parmigiano Reggiano can be used in place of Pecorino, and pancetta can replace guanciale, but "Under no circumstances can there be any other additions or switch-ups."
Classic carbonara simply doesn't need cream; the sauce is already rich due to the egg yolks, cheese, and cured pork, and while cream can be a delicious addition, it will turn your carbonara into pasta with generic cream sauce. Chef Orr agrees that "you cannot call a creamy pile of pasta carbonara" if you mess with the basic formula.