Chef Recipes

Carbonara Day: Discover the world's best carbonaras, from trattorias to fine dining.

Alessandra Meldolesi
copertina carbonara

Carbonara isn't just any pasta dish; it continues to capture the cravings for deliciousness worldwide. A dish both technical and incredibly simple, embodying the spirit of contemporary cuisine.

Carbonara Day Special: 7 Carbonaras that set the standard worldwide

The popularity of carbonara shows no signs of waning, as it firmly establishes itself among the staple dishes of Italian cuisine, even abroad. We asked Luca Cesari, who, before focusing on the history of pizza, had explored ten iconic pasta dishes. "Carbonara, more than a trend, represents a true sign of the times. Among regional cuisines, Roman cuisine has evolved rapidly since the mid-20th century, introducing new dishes like carbonara.

copertina vini carbonara

Simple, hearty, and above all, quick: with its 4 ingredients and a preparation time of just a few minutes, it has become the symbol of contemporary cuisine because it embodies its values. These characteristics are also shared by other Italian specialties, such as tiramisù, which, not coincidentally, have climbed the peaks of global culinary appreciation. Thanks to recipes like these, Italy has established itself as the world's most appreciated and widespread cuisine, a title that had been firmly held by the French cousins for almost three centuries. Can carbonara be considered the best Italian recipe? Absolutely not, but it certainly is the specialty that best fits today's tastes and times."


osteria della tana carbonara

Carbonara is not a dish one would expect to find on the Asiago plateau. Yet, Alessandro Dal Degan serves a phenomenal version of it in his tavern. "We wanted to interpret it using local products. Starting with a thin macaroni of fresh egg pasta made with semolina alone, the typical gargato of the Vicenza area; the eggs come from a farm 250 meters from the Tana; the guanciale from the Nogara butcher shop, near Vicenza, is prepared with mountain spices and lightly smoked. Plus, aged Asiago cheese, for over two years, instead of pecorino, which also replaces the salt, and some wild berries for pepper, juniper, fake pepper, wild cumin. In an attempt to respect both our philosophy and the standards of the original recipe, from which it visually does not deviate. Enrico Maglio pairs it with a Tai red wine."


Arcangelo Dandini carbonara 3

Ranks among Rome's must-try carbonaras, the one of Arcangelo Dandini. "It appears to be a symbol currently defining the community, but in reality, it divides like two soccer teams. There's even the carbocrema, the caciottara evolution. I was the first to remove the egg white and pepper, which, for me, is too much and historically doesn't fit, so I've streamlined it a bit, in an extreme form, with a hint of smoked pecorino in addition to the Romano to compensate. I am more and more convinced that this dish will never please everyone, but it deserves credit for sparking so much discussion about Italian cuisine. If it's missing, it seems like a region isn't being represented, and even Italian identity. So it's a dress that feels tight on me, but one I wear willingly. At Arcangelo and at Chorus, it represents my core business, more with Italians than with foreigners. I even tried to make a sandwich out of it, but in the end, I gave up. Honestly, I've never fully loved it; for myself, I make a cold version, as finger food, otherwise the temperature makes it too redundant for me. Because I find it out of place compared to the pastoral nature of matriciana. Then I pair it with a white wine, not too chilled or fragrant, maybe Friulano."


pipero roma carbonara

Say "carbonara" and you think of Alessandro Pipero, who has made it a flagship dish across his various restaurants, up to Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. The recipe, even through chef changes, has never varied, without extravagance. "I live off carbonara, but I hate excess, like Carbonara Day. There's too much talk about it, it's becoming annoying. It remains one of the dishes of our history, so long live it. What's around it, however, is starting to get tiresome. There's no Spaghetti alle Vongole Day. Ours is as good as any, but it's more of a vehicle to let people taste Ciro's cuisine."


Roscioli carbonara

"I'll just say raw ingredients: the best around. Parisi eggs, guanciale from Conero or Alto Lazio aged for a minimum of 8 months, Cavalieri spaghetti, pecorino romano produced in Sardinia aged for 20 months. Then a couple of adjustments: aluminum pans for the guanciale, so it burns on the outside without becoming rubbery, and stirring off the heat, like everyone else. When the pecorino romano is more flavorful due to seasonal factors, we compensate with a 20% from the Puglia’s one, which is sweeter. All very simple."


vineria del vasaio carbonara

The best carbonara outside of Rome? It seems to be the one from Vineria del Vasaio in Città di Castello. It's prepared by Gregorio Boriosi, the chef of the restaurant. "I put care into it, it's good, I use quality products. I add the finishing touch in the dining room, flambé, not just for show, which is actually the last thing. But because the heat from the spaghetti isn't enough to cook the sauce, you have to play around 64 °C, the coagulation point. So with the right help from a little cooking water, I manage to pay the utmost attention. I haven't added cheese for twenty years, in fact, some Romans are taken aback. Less is more, I say. The dish is already rich on its own. However, a gentleman called it 'a cultural shock.' For me, it's just an Italian dish and I prepare it with Umbrian ingredients because we have a centuries-old tradition in pork butchery, without invasive flavors. I use pancetta, not guanciale, because it's leaner and more fragrant, eggs, and Garofalo spaghetti alla chitarra, to avoid too much starch and because they coat better than short pasta. I must have made two hundred thousand of them, cooking two whole pancettas every three days. People come in and don't even open the menu. I tried to make it bad once and I couldn't!"



Among the author's reinterpretations of carbonara, there is undoubtedly the dessert created in 2020 at Casa Vissani, included by Massimo Bottura in his tasting of milestone dishes of Italian cuisine. It was conceived by the chef's sister, Lucia Paola, with the help of Luca, the dining room manager. It's a Cold Carbonara Soup that has the energy of a contradiction, in its composition plated in the style of Robuchon. "I liked the idea of ​​reintroducing a rough and rugged dish of traditional cuisine in a cuddly way, like a dessert distant from what is the gustatory memory," says Luca. "That was the starting point, then teamwork came into play in the details, with my father Gianfranco and my aunt. The result is a cold soup with egg cream, persimmon ice cream, coffee dots, guanciale, and a thin layer of baked puff pastry, sprinkled with black pepper. Where the intruders, namely the fruit and coffee, serve to rebalance with sweetness and bitterness. It's a fresh dish, designed in spring. When Massimo contacted me, asking for a series of recipes to have fun with the guys, I sent him old or recent dishes. And he chose this."


ferran adria carbonara

Everyone remembers those tagliolini made of consommé, gelled with agar-agar, dressed with bacon butter, his and Parmesan's dices, cream, yolk, and truffle oil, the historic yet gastronomically incorrect carbonara from elBulli, dated around 2010. It was the mother of all pasta-non-pasta dishes, but also an example of deconstruction school, with the separate elaboration of the elements, the possible role shifts, their reconstruction. Same DNA, same flavor, different presentation, to tantalize recognition and surprise in just one bite.

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