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I learned this recipe from Giulano Bugialli. The pancetta, Italian bacon that is cured but not smoked, is essential in this recipe. You couldn't buy pancetta in Chappaqua for love or money in the 1970s. It was sold only in butcher shops in Italian-American neighborhoods like Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. Pancetta is now available at most supermarkets.

Yield: 4 servings as a main course, 6 as a first course

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot.

Put the pancetta, garlic, shallot, oil, hot red pepper flakes and salt to taste (add salt based on the saltiness of the pancetta) in a large skillet. Set the pan over very low heat and cook until all the fat is rendered from the pancetta and it browns evenly, 12 to 15 minutes.

Beat the eggs and cheese in a small bowl and set aside.

Add salt to taste and the pasta to the boiling water. Cook until al dente. Drain the spaghetti and place it in a large serving dish. Quickly spoon the hot pancetta mixture over the spaghetti. Toss quickly and then add the egg mixture, continuing to toss to make sure that the eggs and cheese are evenly distributed. Grind black pepper plentifully over the dish (it should be very peppery), toss well and serve immediately.




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