Pasta Alla Carbonara – pasta in the style of the coal workers - is a simple yet deliciously rich dish that can be thrown together very quickly with just a few ingredients you probably already have on hand: pasta (traditionally made with spaghetti but any shape will work), eggs, bacon, freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese, and freshly ground black pepper.
The trick to making a luscious, creamy Pasta Carbonara is to carefully control the heat when you mix the eggs into the hot pasta.
Do it wrong and you end up with scrambled eggs and pasta. If this happens, don’t worry, it will taste fine but the texture won’t be quite as satisfying. Just follow the recipe step-by-step and your dish will be beautifully rich and creamy. Buon appetito!
1 pound of pasta (serves 4 for dinner, 6 for lunch)
5 large eggs (1 egg per person + a spare)
½ pound of bacon, sliced (1/2 package)
1.5 cups of FRESHLY grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
Salt to season the water
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Put a large pot of cold water on to boil. (4 quarts of water per pound of pasta)
2. While the water is heating, slice the bacon into small pieces and place in a cold saucepan. Turn the heat to medium low and slowly render the bacon until brown and crispy. You can drain off some of the fat but leave at least 3 tablespoons in the pan to create the sauce. Turn the heat to low to keep it hot.
3. While the bacon is cooking, wisk together the eggs, 3/4 cup of the grated cheese and a few cranks of pepper in a bowl or large measuring cup until well blended. No need to add salt as the bacon has plenty. Set aside.
4. When the water is at a rolling boil, add a heaping tablespoon of salt and drop in the pasta. Stir gently to prevent it from sticking as the water comes back to a boil. Cook according to package directions, stirring occasionally, until al dente or cooked but still firm to the bite. Just before draining, reserve a ½ cup or so of the starchy pasta water. Set aside.
5. Drain the pasta quickly in a colander (but don’t rinse! the starchy water helps blend the sauce). Return the hot pasta to the hot pot, off the heat.
6. Carefully add the hot bacon and oil to the pasta, scraping the saucepan with a rubber spatula to get every morsel of deliciousness. Stir well to completely coat the pasta with the hot oil.
7. Slowly pour in the egg mixture, stirring quickly as you go to keep the eggs from cooking too fast. Put the pot back on low heat and continue stirring. Add a splash of the reserved pasta water and a ½ cup of the grated cheese. Stir continually to smooth out the sauce as it heats through. If the eggs are cooking too fast, take the pot off the heat again. The pasta will continue to absorb the sauce after it has been plated so you want it just a bit on the “goopy” side when you serve it.
8. Plate the pasta, garnish with the remaining grated cheese and a few cranks of fresh ground black pepper to taste. The spiciness of the black pepper goes really well with the richness of the sauce.
For step-by-step photos and a great video demonstration of this and other delicious pasta recipes, visit us online.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Christine Coughlan is the author, designer and publisher of http://www.MyFavoritePastaRecipes.com, your one-stop resource for pasta recipes, ideas, how-to and more! You'll find simple step-by-step recipes with beautiful images, helpful how-to videos, drool-worthy culinary tours, articles, timely seasonal inspiration and much more. Quick and easy one-dish dinner ideas, classic pasta and sauce combinations, rich and satisfying lasagnas, even an in depth video series on how to make fresh pasta by hand that will keep you coming back for more. To keep things flowing smoothly in your kitchen, look for her handy tips and timing techniques. From gathering your ingredients to garnishing your plate, you'll look like a seasoned pro. To check out more great pasta recipes, visit today!