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There’s nothing quite like a hearty pasta dish any night of the week. This rich and creamy carbonara is a staple on the menu at Plin, and it’s easy enough to make yourself--yes, really. We got chef Alexander Alioto (who perfected his entrée while working his way through restaurants in Italy) to share the recipe and provide a few tips for making flawless fettuccine carbonara in your own kitchen. And while you're at it...learn how to plate pasta perfectly.

The 5 tricks to making it like the chef:

1. Amp up the flavor by adding chicken stock, rather than pasta water, to the sauce.

2. Use shallots instead of garlic.

3. Doubling the number of egg yolks called for in most carbonara recipes makes for a more indulgent entrée.

4. Pancetta is easier to cut when it’s cold, not at room temperature.

5. It’s important that the sauce is hot when you add the pasta, because the heat cooks the raw egg yolks. But if it’s too hot, you’ll curdle the egg, so turn off the heat about 30 seconds before adding the pasta.

Plin, 280 Valencia St.; 415-644-8425 or plinsf.com

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