Carbonara sauce is one of the most famous preparations of Italian cuisine. But, did you know the origins of this dish?
Like most recipes, the origins of the dish are obscure, and there are several hypotheses about it. As the name is derived from carbonaro (the Italian word for charcoal burner), some believe that the dish was first made as a hearty meal for Italian charcoal workers. The etymology gave rise to the term “coal miner’s spaghetti”, which is used to refer to spaghetti alla carbonara in parts of the United States. It has even been suggested that it was created by, or as a tribute to, the Carbonari (“charcoalmen”), a secret society prominent in the unification of Italy.
The dish is not present in Ada Boni’s 1927 classic La Cucina Romana, and is unrecorded before the Second World War. It was first recorded after the war as a Roman dish, when many Italians were eating eggs and bacon supplied by troops from the United States. More recently, a restaurant in Rimini has claimed the original recipe was born during WWII. Powdered eggs and milk, and bacon were standard issue for the American troops and were widely used for bartering with the population. Italians would use those ingredients and pepper to make a nutritious and savoury pasta sauce.
At Via Appia we follow the traditional recipe, including eggs, cheese and streaky bacon; outside Italy it is common to add another ingredients, such as cream or onion. We also serve it the classic way, with a long dry pasta as spaguetti.