Monday, January 23, 2012

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

I have recently developed a fascination with eggs. Before I got married, I rarely even bought eggs. If I did it was more likely than not that they would go bad before I finished the carton. Now we finish a carton of 18 right about the expiration date. This last time I went to the store, I bought two cartons of 18.  My 22 year old self never would have dreamed of that happening. The best part...we are well into the second carton with plenty of time before the expiration date. 


One thing that helped go through those two cartons of eggs so quickly was this Carbonara sauce. The way the sauce coats the noodles is just perfect. And while it doesn't heat up like a dream, it can still serve as leftovers (well over half the food we eat is leftovers from the day or day before). 


If you like pasta, bacon, and egg this is a meal for you. I know it will be a regular in our household.

Fun fact from my cookbook: Unlike many popular variations, authentic carbonara includes no cream or wine, just beaten eggs and cheese (pg. 66).  

Recipe:
Yield: 4 servings

5 large eggs (extra large is good too)
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Fine sea salt and ground pepper
Kosher salt for cooking pasta
1 lb spaghetti
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lb bacon, finely diced
3 tbsp minced fresh parsley

In a bowl, beat the eggs until well blended. Stir in the 3/4 cup cheese and season with sea salt and plenty of pepper.

In a large pot, bring water to a rapid boil. Add 2 tbsp kosher salt (don't skip this part...it makes a HUGE difference in any pasta you will ever cook) and the pasta and cook according to package directions, until the pasta is 2 minutes shy of being al dente.

In a frying pan large enough to accommodate the pasta later, cook the diced bacon. Drain the grease and set the bacon aside. Warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the bacon and saute until nicely colored and crisp, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

When the pasta is ready drain it, reserving about 1 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the frying pan, place over low heat and toss to coat the pasta with the oil. Add about 1/2 cup of the cooking water to moisten, and simmer, continuing to toss, until the water is nearly evaporates, 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer the contents of the pan to a large bowl. Add the egg mixture and parsley and toss vigorously to distribute the sauce evenly and to ensure that the eggs do not scramble. If the pasta seems dry, add more of the reserved cooking water to loosen it. Serve right away. 

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