Friday, February 26, 2010

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Pasta is my favorite meal to cook and eat. It's quick, versatile and delicious! Last night I was in the mood for a pasta with simple ingredients, a little decadence and a lot of flavor, so I turned to one of my favorite go-to pastas, Spaghetti alla Carbonara. Also known as Bacon and Egg Pasta, Carbonara is a rich sauce made with eggs and Parmesan cheese and accented with bacon and garlic. It would be fantastic for brunch too! The sauce is so easy to make it will be finished before your done boiling the noodles. Talk about fast food! Enjoy this delicious pasta with a glass of Pinot Noir or Chardonnay.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara
Creamy, rich, decadent AND quick and easy to make!

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

Note- 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. Drain the pasta well, reserving 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water to use in the sauce if you wish.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium flame. Add the bacon and saute for about 3 minutes, until the bacon is crisp and the fat is rendered. Toss the garlic into the fat and saute for less than 1 minute to soften.

Beat the eggs and Parmesan together in a mixing bowl, stirring well to prevent lumps. Add a little of the warm cooking water and stir rapidly to temper the eggs. 

Add the hot, drained spaghetti to the pan and toss for 2 minutes to coat the strands in the bacon fat. 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. 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.

Recipe adapted from Tyler Florence

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