What is the best cheese to use in authentic carbonara?
More often than not, it’s Parmigiano Reggiano that gets all the attention when it comes to Italian food and pasta dishes. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because Parmigiano Reggiano is a great-tasting cheese, produced with patience and care and has a salty, nutty flavor that can’t be beat. You can even substitute it with Pecorino Romano if you can’t find the latter—but your carbonara won’t be truly authentic if you do. Not only is Pecorino Romano a local cheese that makes sense to use in a Roman dish, it is saltier than Parmigiano Reggiano, and therefore seasones a pasta dish better.
Spaghetti is the pasta usually equivalent to spaghetti alla carbonara, but tonnarelli, bucatini and even rigatoni are also used regularly in Rome, depending on where you order them from. Any of them can be used to make an authentic carbonara. Guanciale is another staple, but pancetta and even bacon are good substitutes. Finally, egg yolks and black pepper complete the list of ingredients for this classic dish. When put together, it creates a creamy sauce (without using actual cream) that coats every strand of pasta and takes you to culinary bliss. The cheese itself goes into the sauce, but feel free to sprinkle it liberally on your plate as well.