Yesterday was international Carbonara Day and New York hosted a number of carbonara celebrations organized by the GVCI (Virtual Group of Italian Chefs). The origin of Spaghetti alla carbonara is unknown but the GVCI has put together this relatively well-informed page citing all the theories as to its provenance (I was glad to see that the group referenced my edition of Ippolito Cavalcanti’s Cucina Teorico-Pratica).
Above: Salvatore Corea’s Spaghetti alla Carbonara is not on the menu at Bocca but it was great.
I paired it with La Monacesca’s 2005 Verdicchio di Matelica: clean and fresh in the mouth, with nice fruit flavors. While Verdicchio dei Castelli di Iesi, which lies on the Adriatic coast of the Marches, is the more famous of the two appellations, Matelica, which lies in an inland valley, is known for its fruity notes (thanks to the temperature variation of the valley). It’s a wonderfully food-friendly wine and also went well with Salvatore’s grilled scamorza and culatello.
Above: Salvatore also had me taste his Spaghetti alla gricia, a similar dish, also made with guanciale (and black truffles) but no egg. It wasn’t as good as the carbonara but tasty nonetheless.
Above: to be avoided at all costs! The Spaghetti alla Carbonara at Il Mulino in the West Village was by far the worst I’ve ever tasted.
Late last year I tasted the Spaghetti alla carbonara at Il Mulino, in the West Village, where I had one of the worst meals of my life. It’s really unbelievable — inconceivable in fact — that this would-be landmark restaurant has not been exposed for what it truly is: a sham.
Above: another dish of equally dubious origins, Fettuccine Alfredo, also at Il Mulino, and equally bad as its carbonara.
The only bottle I could find worth drinking at Il Mulino was a 1988 Barolo by Marchesi di Barolo (the rest of the list is over-oaked and WAY over-priced). Thankfully (or sadly, depending on how you look at it), I was the guest of another wine professional. We were both shocked by the obscene prices. So, please, don’t ever go there!
Stick to the professionals (hopefully we can get Salvatore to make his carbonara a regular dish on his menu).