This dish has two different stories relating to its origins. The first tells us of the carbonari, or charcoal burners, living on the banks of rivers like the Tiber. These families lived with just a few basics: a sheep for milk and cheese, hens for eggs, and a pig for fresh and cured meats. Their lives were dusted with black charcoal flakes and the ever-present smoke. So the recipe honours these people, by putting together the cheese, eggs and pancetta, and the ground black pepper represents the flakes of charcoal. Some think it was a more recent invention, created for the American GIs at the end of the Second World War because they constantly demanded ‘ham and eggs’, and the locals obliged with this creation!
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