Pasta Carbonara is one of the most delicious dishes. If you see it on a restaurant menu, it makes your short list. Every time. It's actually easy to make. And your kids will eat it! There are recipes out there that call for milk or cream or flour or who knows what? But, basically an authentic carbonara just needs a few ingredients.
You need bacon. Guanciale would be best and pancetta is great too. I like the smokiness of bacon and I almost always have some in the fridge. You need eggs. You need cheese. Parmigiano Reggiano if ya got it. I think Pecorino Romano is most authentic since this is a Roman dish, I believe. And you need pasta. I like spaghetti, the workhorse of the pasta family. This time I'm using a whole grain linguine. Whole grain?? Yeah, I know, I know. It's actually not that bad and when you think that it's a dish of bacon, eggs, and cheese...well, a little extra nutrition is not a bad thing. I also like to add a bit of garlic too. If you happen to have some heavy cream kicking around, you can add a splash. It will help the sauce be a little silkier.
So this is for a pound of pasta, give or take.
- Ok, so get your water boiling.
- Then cut the bacon into strips and start cooking it off. I'm using about a half pound. If you like more, use more. If you don't have as much, use what ya got.
- In a bowl, crack 4 eggs. Season the eggs with a little pinch of salt per egg.
- Grate in a big handful of cheese. What's a handful? Depends on the hand, I guess. I'd say somewhere between a quarter & a half cup. If you like more, by all means...
- Grate it your garlic clove. I like the flavor 1 clove imparts. It's subtle. It works.
- Whisk it all up til blended.
- Drop the pasta. But first add a handful of salt to the pasta water. A pinch will NOT do. The water should taste salty. Not super salty. Just salty.
- Basically you want to time this so when your pasta is cooked, your bacon is cooked. But you can turn the bacon off and then heat it back up when the pasta is cooked.
- Depending on the fattiness of the bacon, you may have a ton of rendered fat. You want some but not a ton. If you think it's too much, then drain some off. I didn't drain any of the fat for the bacon below.
- Ok, when the pasta is done it's time to work quick. Make sure the heat is off in the bacon pan. It should hot but not still cooking.
- Drain the pasta and add to the pan of bacon. Don't worry if the pasta is pretty wet. That's good for the bringing the sauce together. Give the pasta & bacon & bacon fat a stir to combine.
- Add the egg/cheese mixture to the pasta while you are stirring and keep stirring.
- Done. Serve it with whatever vegetable you like and/or your kids will eat.
Traditionally, you want a lot of cracked pepper in this dish. I believe that is where the name "Carbonara" comes from. Add it to the egg/cheese mixture. I leave it out because my kids don't like a lot of pepper.
So in my version below, I think my pan was too hot so it cooked my egg mixture too quickly and formed curds. It is still delicious but the texture was not as creamy. Just sayin'.
How do you make your carbonara? Seems like everyone's got there own delicious twist?