Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Talk about the ultimate comfort food. Pasta, eggs, bacon and cheese. I could happily live on a combination of those 4 ingredients for the rest of my life. Except for that whole scurvy thing. What if I ate those 4 ingredients and had a glass of OJ every once in a while? Yeah, I think that will work. I've never actually met anyone with scurvy before. I'm not sure if it even still exists. I do know that if it did still exist, Shelby would have it. If it's not beige, she won't eat it. And bananas, while sort of beige, still have too much color for Shelby to ingest it. The only colorful thing she eats is the Red Dye #5 that colors Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.

Sorry, got off track there for a minute. That happens when you have children. Or husbands. Or ADHD.

Seriously, if you have never made this very traditional and unbelievably easy dish, try it tonight. You know you have the ingredients on hand!

Spaghetti alla Carbonara


1 pound dry spaghetti
2 Tbls extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces pancetta or bacon, cubed or sliced into small strips
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 large eggs
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
Freshly ground black pepper
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking to ensure that the spaghetti will be hot and ready when the sauce is finished. It is very important that the pasta is hot when adding the egg mixture, so that the heat of the pasta cooks the raw eggs in the sauce.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender yet firm (al dente). Drain the pasta well, reserving 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water to use in the sauce if you wish.

Meanwhile, while the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium flame. Add the pancetta/bacon and saute for about 3-5 minutes, until the bacon is crisp and the fat is rendered. Toss the garlic into the fat and saute for a minute to soften.

Slice the bacon...

Mince the garlic...

And cook 'em up!

Add the hot, drained spaghetti to the pan and toss for 2 minutes to coat the strands in the bacon fat. Beat the eggs and Parmesan together in a mixing bowl, stirring well to prevent lumps.

Parmesan and cheese mixture...

Remove the pan from the heat and pour the egg/cheese mixture into the pasta, whisking quickly until the eggs thicken, but do not scramble (this is done off the heat to ensure this does not happen.) Thin out the sauce with a bit of the reserved pasta water, until it reaches desired consistency.

I use tongs, because I always make too much to "toss"

Season the carbonara with several turns of freshly ground black pepper and taste for salt. Mound the spaghetti carbonara into warm serving bowls and garnish with chopped parsley. Pass more cheese around the table.

It's beige, so Shelby will eat it!




mom said...

Poor Shelby. You're picking on her. Does she read this?

I would eat the pasta by myself. Maybe during hunting season!

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