The last time I made Spaghetti Carbonara was probably 15 years ago. One day after school my friend Valeria and I decided to head to my house for lunch. Since pasta and eggs were available in the pantry I enthusiastically suggested that we cook Carbonara, without of course having any clue about how to make it. In that stage of my life cooking was pretty simple in my head -- just a matter of mixing ingredients, in that case pasta, eggs and cheese. I didn't consider that how those were combined could actually affect the result.
I mixed the eggs in a bowl with cheese and pepper and then I added the drained pasta and served it to my friend. She had a bite and then said that that raw egg sauce was absolutely disgusting. She was definitely right and we threw everything away.
Only yesterday I realized how that unfortunate carbonara-experience in some way affected me. Even tough I loved a properly made Carbonara I've never cooked it since that time as I was afraid of the outcome. But every time I visit my family in Florence I go to Staccia Buratta, a tiny restaurant in my village and order, when in season, their Carbonara with Artichokes that I think is amazing. This place is a hidden gem and I highly recommend to anyone who goes to Florence to have lunch or dinner there. Not only are their ingredients organic and local but the combinations of flavors is so sophisticated and simple at the same time that is always surprising. It's all about real people and good local food.
Despite my first unpleasant experience making carbonara, I definitely wanted to include the Staccia Buratta's version in the book so I decided to give it a try. It came out perfect, silky and creamy, no raw eggs or scrambled, just how it should be. Plus the artichokes added a great flavor.
Once my husband and I devoured the whole pan, I texted my friend Valeria, who now lives in Nairobi, Kenya and told her how 15 years later I had made Carbonara again and that it turned out quite delicious! She replied saying that my carbonara had traumatized her so much that she never ate it again. We both laugh recalling that memory and how my unfortunate recipe had affected us. Even better was realizing how despite all the countries we have lived in and how our lives have taken different paths we have always stayed friends, in spite of everything, even that terrible carbonara!