IMG_1323

“Carbonara” refers to a pasta dish made with bacon and eggs. Its name derives from being typically served to Italian coal miners after a long, hard day in the mines. It makes a great lunch or light dinner, and most of the ingredients are probably already in your refrigerator. We serve this in my house at least once a week.

This dish is traditionally made with pancetta, the Italian equivalent of bacon. It’s not always easy to find so I usually end up using regular bacon, thick-cut or center cut if you can find it. Also, most authentic recipes will call for some garlic to be added to the sauce – we don’t typically use any garlic in our house, so I always leave it out.

Spaghetti Carbonara

Serves 4

1 box spaghetti

12 oz bacon

2 eggs plus 1 yolk

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

1 Tbsp. dried parsley

1 tsp. black pepper

IMG_13101. Cook spaghetti in heavily salted water according to the “al dente” instructions on the box; reserve ½ to ¾ cup of the cooking water (make sure the pasta is almost done cooking when you reserve the water, to maximize the starch content)

2. Meanwhile, slice bacon into ½ inch strips and cook in a large pan over medium heat.

IMG_1315Note* start the bacon in a cold pan – this will allow it to cook evenly without burning, and it will also render the most fat.

3. When the bacon is crisp, use a slotted spoon to transfer to a paper towel to absorb some of the extra grease. Reserve 2-3 Tbsp. of the bacon drippings.

IMG_13174. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, parmesan, parsley and pepper (To extract just the yolk from the third egg, crack it as close to the middle as possible over a sink or garbage bowl; move the yolk back and forth between the two egg shells until the whites have fallen away and you’re left with just the yolk in one half of the shell).

IMG_1313Note* I don’t add any salt to the sauce because for my family, the bacon and parmesan are salty enough. I do still salt the pasta water, however.

IMG_13145. Add the crisp bacon to the sauce and stir gently to avoid breaking the pieces; also add the reserved bacon drippings and stir.

IMG_13186. Add the reserved pasta water to the sauce, one splash at a time. You want to “temper” the eggs, or slowly bring them up to the higher temperature of the hot water without scrambling them. I usually fill a coffee cup halfway with the pasta water and slowly add what I need to the sauce until I get the consistency I want. It should be roughly the consistency of a thick soup.

IMG_13197. Drain the pasta and add it to the bowl with the sauce, and toss everything to evenly coat the spaghetti. The heat from the pasta will cook the eggs the rest of the way.

8. Garnish with extra parmesan and parsley, if desired.

IMG_1325Enjoy!

Spaghetti Carbonara
 
Author:
Recipe type: Pasta, First Course
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 box spaghetti
  • 12 oz. bacon
  • 2 eggs plus 1 yolk
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
Instructions
  1. Cook spaghetti in heavily salted water according to the “al dente” instructions on the box; reserve ½ to ¾ cup of the cooking water (make sure the pasta is almost done cooking when you reserve the water, to maximize the starch content)
  2. Meanwhile, slice bacon into ½ inch strips and cook in a large pan over medium heat. Note* start the bacon in a cold pan – this will allow it to cook evenly without burning, and it will also render the most fat.
  3. When the bacon is crisp, use a slotted spoon to transfer to a paper towel to absorb some of the extra grease. Reserve 2-3 Tbsp. of the bacon drippings.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, parmesan, parsley and pepper (To extract just the yolk from the third egg, crack it as close to the middle as possible over a sink or garbage bowl; move the yolk back and forth between the two egg shells until the whites have fallen away and you’re left with just the yolk in one half of the shell).
  5. Note* I don’t add any salt to the sauce because for my family, the bacon and parmesan are salty enough. I do still salt the pasta water, however.
  6. Add the crisp bacon to the sauce and stir gently to avoid breaking the pieces; also add the reserved bacon drippings and stir.
  7. Add the reserved pasta water to the sauce, one splash at a time. You want to “temper” the eggs, or slowly bring them up to the higher temperature of the hot water without scrambling them. I usually fill a coffee cup halfway with the pasta water and slowly add what I need to the sauce until I get the consistency I want. It should be roughly the consistency of a thick soup.
  8. Drain the pasta and add it to the bowl with the sauce, and toss everything to evenly coat the spaghetti. The heat from the pasta will “cook” the eggs the rest of the way.
  9. Garnish with extra parmesan and parsley, if desired.
  10. Enjoy!

 

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