In a very large pot, bring 5 quarts water and all the kosher salt to a boil. (Yes, you read that correctly. Generously salted water is key to a well-seasoned final dish.) Add pasta and cook until just al dente, about 1 minute less than package directions. Scoop out and reserve 1/4 cup of the water before draining the pasta.Advertisement
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in an extra-large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the guanciale and cook until almost crisp, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the reserved pasta water and deglaze the pan, scraping with a wooden spoon to get up the brown bits. When the water boils, turn off the heat.
In a bowl, whisk the egg whites until they start to get foamy. Add the pepper, parsley, cheese and remaining olive oil to the whites. Add this mixture gradually to the guanciale in the pan, stirring vigorously to incorporate.
Add the hot, just-drained pasta to the pan and toss well. Divide the pasta among four bowls, topping each portion with an egg yolk, and additional pepper and cheese, if desired. Serve immediately, allowing diners to mix the yolk into the pasta at the table.
Guanciale is cured pork jowl and is a familiar ingredient in Italian kitchens. Chef Michael Symon explains, “Like pancetta, it’s not smoked, so it has a cleaner taste than bacon. And because it’s not mass-produced, you’re typically getting a heritage breed hog, so the flavor is more robust and porky.” If you want to try it, Michael loves Iowa’s La Quercia brand (laquercia.us).
Stirring a yolk into the hot pasta is molto autentico, but if it makes you squeamish or you're concerned about food safety, just whisk 4 whole eggs together in Step 3, then continue as instructed. (One benefit of this method is that you can help yourself to a more modest portion of pasta.)