A few years ago, we were on holiday in Rome with my brother and sister-in-law and were really excited to try what is heralded as some of the best pizza in Rome – only to find it closed on arrival. The pizza place was a destination and a ways out from the centre. We were all starving so we decide to just walk around the block to see if there was anything open. We came upon a little hole in the wall, local place, which was just about to close. They told us to sit down and they would “whip” us up something. They brought out two family style plates of pasta. One of those plates was a carbonara. But it was unlike any carbonara I had had before. It was sooo yellow and sooo creamy. Ever since I’ve been trying to replicate it. Along the way I’ve learned that there is no cream in a traditional carbonara, it gets its colour from the eggs and it is traditionally made with a tubular pasta.
My recipe takes a decidedly different approach from the classic by using chorizo. I first started using chorizo when I went to make a carbonara and realised I didn’t have any speck…but I did have chorizo! Now I know Italians are going to hate me for saying this, but I actually prefer my Carbonara with chorizo now. The paprika flavour and spice really break up the richness of the sauce and the little bits get so crispy, they provide such a nice texture.
A Zabaione is usually associated with a sweet custard-like dessert. This recipe uses the same technique which makes for a beautifully rich, creamy sauce that has a vibrant yellow colour. I learned the technique for this recipe from a cookbook called Tasting Rome. I love this cookbook. Its has an amazing assortment of Roman dishes and is just as good as a guide book to the different neighbourhoods. My copy is definitely earmarked for our next trip!