What’s The Difference: Carbonara Vs. Pinoy Carbonara

These two creamy plates of pasta have only a few things in common.

IMAGE Bianca Laxamana
ILLUSTRATOR Louis Miguel A. Talao

The debate between creamy pasta lovers and tomato pasta lovers is one that can't be won. There's just no winner since these pasta dishes are very different in flavor! However, there is a kind of pasta that can generate just as much debate as any other: the carbonara

The carbonara pasta is definitely creamy, and there are two kinds that we are all familiar with: the carbonara and the Pinoy carbonara. Both recipes have ingredients that are creamy but the two recipes are very different. Just know that it's not cheese that makes it creamy good! (That's an alfredo pasta which is different from carbonara, too.) Care to know more about how two carbonara recipes can be so different? Read on:

A carbonara pasta that uses eggs instead of cream is more true to the original recipe.
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1 Carbonara uses eggs. Pinoy carbonara uses cream. 

The biggest difference has to be what is in the sauce and how the sauce is made. Let's start with how the creamy sauce itself is made. The carbonara that's authentic uses eggs to create the base of the sauce. This is not a sauce that is made on the side and tossed with the pasta. Instead, the pasta is cooked and the sauce is made with the pasta.

The heat of the freshly cooked pasta is what heats up the eggs enough that it is "cooked". The heat also contributes to the eggs turning creamy and the cheese you added to melt. This technique is what makes this version of the carbonara more intimidating, for both those who are a little wary of eating raw eggs and those who fear cooking the eggs too much. The threat of scrambled eggs is high, especially if you toss the egg mixture with the pasta in a pot or pan.  

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The Pinoy carbonara however is much simpler in creation. The sauce is made with all-purpose cream and this stable dairy product makes the sauce extra creamy. It's easy to do since it's just a simple matter of adding the cream to the pan to create the sauce. There's no fuss, no special technique, nor special timing necessary to do it. This is what makes the Pinoy carbonara so attractive, especially for new and inexperienced cooks. 

Carbonara can be made with your choice of cured pork.
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2 Carbonara uses guanciale. Pinoy carbonara uses bacon. 

All carbonara needs a bit of pork to give it that extra boost of flavor. The type of cured pork used however is polarizing. The cured pork product whether it's bacon, guanciale, or prosciutto can be a matter up for debate. What is true is that what is available (and affordable as the case may be) is what you can use. For those who want to make a more authentic version, guanciale or prosciutto is the only kind to use. For the Pinoy carbonara fans, bacon is just as delicious, especially for those who love lots of it piled on top of their pasta. 

Did you know there's real Parmesan and fake ones?
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3 Carbonara uses Parmesan. Pinoy carbonara uses quick-melting cheese. 

Carbonara is basically a pasta dish that uses only a few ingredients. That's why the kind of ingredients you use is important since you'll taste each one. After all, quality ingredients can make or break the flavor and taste of your dish. 

Carbonara pasta should be sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. However, this adds flavor and doesn't contribute to the creaminess of the dish. That's why for the Pinoy carbonara fans, that cheese better should be a creamy quick-melting cheese instead to make it even more delicious and luscious to eat. 

Carbonara made with eggs should be served as soon as it's made! 
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4 Carbonara is a dish made to be eaten immediately. Pinoy carbonara can be served later.  

The serving time of the carbonara can be a factor when making it. The carbonara using eggs needs to be served almost immediately after it's made. That's because despite the egg turning into a sauce, it won't stay saucy if left out for too long. In fact, the sauce will dry up and be absorbed by the pasta. This is one pasta that is best served immediately for best results. 

The Pinoy carbonara on the other hand will keep better for longer than the egg version. This is especially true if you make the cream sauce with flour. Just like the egg mixture, cream sauces usually dry up as well but if you add flour, it will help the cream sauce stay a sauce. This means you can cook the pasta and the sauce separately and toss it together later when ready to serve. 

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Learn more about carbonara pasta and other creamy pasta dishes by reading on: 

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Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on Yummy.ph by submitting your recipe here.

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