For a dish with just a few ingredients, spaghetti carbonara can be a tricky one to master. The sauce can split. The eggs have a tendency to scramble. And sometimes the cheese goes all lumpy. Not the version Danny Corbett makes for The Dolphin, an Italian-influenced pub in Sydney’s Surry Hills. The executive chef of The Point Group (Shell House, The Dolphin, Topikos) reckons his take will help you avoid all of the above, and end up with a spectacularly saucy pasta dish (with not a curdled egg in sight).

“Carbonara is simplicity in a bowl,” Corbett tells Broadsheet. “This is an incredibly simple dish to make, but it can also go horribly wrong. This is a fail-safe way [designed] for restaurant service that gives a beautiful saucy egg yolk sauce and a full-flavoured dish every time – without the eggs splitting or scrambling, or the cheese getting all lumpy.

“At The Dolphin we always make sure our pastas are fresh-made. You can use dried pasta but the difference between fresh and dried is night and day. The fresh pasta soaks up more flavour and thickens the sauce more easily. And it has a much better mouthfeel.”

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He also has an insiders’ tip for packing extra flavour into the sauce.

“Typically, chefs would drain the guanciale fat from the pan – we don’t do that, as fat is flavour.”

Live in Sydney and want to try Corbett’s OG version? It’s being dished up at The Dolphin from April 10 to 16, as part of the pub’s Return of the Classics series.

Danny Corbett’s spaghetti carbonara
Serves 2
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients
100g guanciale

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp confit garlic

220g fresh egg spaghetti

4 organic egg yolks
60g parmesan, finely grated
Flaked sea salt and milled black pepper, to serve

Method
Bring a pot of salted water to the boil.

Meanwhile, trim the tough outer layer from the guanciale, then dice into small pieces. Guanciale is tougher than bacon, so make sure it’s quite a small dice.

Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan over a low heat. Don’t let it get too hot or smoky, as this will burn the oil. Add the guanciale to the pan and cook until lightly coloured. Add the confit garlic and cook until the guanciale fat and garlic have emulsified into a nice paste. Add a splash of pasta water to the pan to help thicken the sauce, then turn down the heat, or move to the side.

Drop the spaghetti in the pot of salted water. Cook fresh pasta for about 2 minutes. If you’re using dried pasta, follow the directions on the packet.

Meanwhile, with a small whisk or fork combine 2 egg yolks, 30 grams of parmesan and a splash of pasta water until smooth. This will help the egg yolk and cheese to emulsify and not split.

When the pasta is cooked, strain (reserving the water) and toss in the pan with guanciale until covered. Then add straight into the bowl with the yolk and parmesan, and toss for about 20 seconds. If the mixture is a little thick and gluggy, add another tablespoon of hot pasta water and continue to toss.

Add flaked salt to taste. Be careful, as the guanciale can be salty.

Serve in a bowl and place the third egg yolk on top of the pasta, with the remaining parmesan and milled black pepper.

dolphinhotel.com.au