While far from the classic this carbonara is quite possibly the most satisfying meal by the fire. Clams slowly steam and smoke by the fire scented with the residual bacon and garlic cooked in the same pan. Eggs and Parmesan miraculously submit into a creamy sauce with the help of a bit of heat the starchy water that the pasta cooked in.
Finished with a bit of lemon for brightness, parsley for color and freshness and even more cheese - no explanation needed.
Serves 4 to 6
6 ounces/170 g pancetta or bacon cut into 1/2 -inch strips
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 pound/ 450 g spaghetti or bucatini
1 cup/20 g Parmesan, grated, plus more to finish
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus more to finish
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest, plus more to finish
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 lb clams, scrubbed clean
1/4 cup roughly chopped Italian parsley to finish
Add enough water to fill a large dutch oven or stock pot up halfway then stir in enough salt to make the water taste of the sea. Bring this to a boil.
While the water comes to a boil, crisp up the pancetta in a large skillet, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until golden and crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the bacon and garlic to a plate.
Add the clams to the same skillet the bacon and garlic cooked in. Set the pan over the coals for 1 minute while stirring to coat the clams in the residual grease. Set the pan off to the side of the coals yet still close to the fire. They’ll slowly start to open and take on some of that luscious smoke.
Cook the pasta until al dente, about 10 to 12 minutes.
In a large bowl stir together the Parmesan, eggs, and black pepper until thoroughly combined.
Add the hot noodles directly to the egg mixture and stir well and quickly so as not to cook the eggs. Add a bit of the pasta water as needed to create a creamy sauce.
To the pasta add the bacon, garlic, and clams then stir in the lemon zest and juice.
Transfer the pasta to a serving platter then top with more grated Parmesan, lemon zest, black pepper, and Parsley.