It sounds wacky, but all I can say is “don’t knock it till you’ve tried it”… Obviously our freezers at home are likely to have a stock of lechon based products to enjoy and experiment with. This seemingly odd sounding spaghetti isn’t really so odd after all. For an “authentic” carbonara, you typically use guanciale (cured pig’s cheek) or the common substitute would be bacon of some sort (hopefully not the overly sweet kind). Our lechon sisig is made from the cheeks, ears and other bits of a roasted pig, so I thought, why not?
Into a heavy stainless steel pan I added several tablespoons of olive oil and about half a cup of chopped white onions and sauté for a minute or so. Next, add about 250grams of chopped lechon sisig. Let this cook over relatively high heat until most of the moisture evaporates and the bits of sisig start to brown and caramelize. Some of the sisig will stick to the bottom of the pan and brown, try to keep most of the pieces moving in the pan.
Meanwhile, into a boiling pot of water with lots of salt, add roughly 400-500 grams of spaghetti pasta. Timing is crucial here, and the pasta should finish when your sauce components are all ready to be mixed together. In another bowl (perhaps even your serving bowl already), break 3-4 eggs and whisk them with a fork along with say 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and about 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese.
When the sisig is ready, add about 1/4 cup of dry white wine to the pan and scrape up the bits sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add the cooked spaghetti to this pan with onions and sisig and keep the heat on really low for about 20 seconds more. Stir to mix. Add about a ladle full of pasta water to moisten it all up. Then 1-2 minutes later (do it too soon, and the eggs will scramble, do it much later and your eating obviously raw egg) add this mixture to the bowl with the eggs and mix well. The resulting “sauce” is creamy without the addition of cream or milk (as many, many restaurants are wont to do these days). Season with several grinds of black pepper and top with some more grated parmesan cheese. Consume within the next ten minutes. :)
I will not lie. It wasn’t your classic carbonara with that hit of distinctively cured meat taste. But this was a home run nonetheless.
P.S. I just did this again in the Cebu office to less than stellar results. So here are some further tips for success. You MUST use VERY GOOD parmesan cheese, freshly grated. Store-bought pre-grated cheese may make or break this dish as it did in Cebu. Your eggs must be from a good source, and if possible organic, with bright orange yolks and non-watery whites. Make sure your sisig is well-cooked, but not crispy and dry yet, and that you don’t use a substitute for the white wine. If you like a CLASSICALLY made carbonara, you will probably like this version as well.