I know this is not your healthiest meal out there, but sometimes… you know, you need to empty the pantry…. which is sadly what has been going on around here… and am starting to panic, because the last thing I want to see is food go to waste (long story) Everyone is starting to say hello to spring with their dishes on the blogs. I, on the other hand, am saying goodbye to winter with all these hearty dishes! 🙂
I made this once before and kind of wanted to have it again. I don’t know why I feel bad to have it, since it can’t be any worse than your other pasta dish or other meal (green salads w/ vinaigrette not included). Maybe because I’ve started to eat pasta so rarely, that I feel bad having it. But as with all things you shun, after a while, comes the craving. And it won’t go away until you satisfy it. So, if it is only once in a while – indulge!
I should probably express my opinion on one matter somewhere: raw eggs. If you don’t like eating them raw, then I feel sorry for you and I don’t know how to help you to make a real carbonara with cooked eggs. The eggs get a bit cooked since they are tossed with hot pasta, but they’re not fully cooked. If the eggs are fresh and you are not a toddler and/or someone with a compromised immune system, there is no reason why you should not eat raw eggs. I think it’s a North American fad of “fear fear fear” and pasteurized eggs in a carton. Talk about THAT culture shock! You know that meme that circulated around, saying how you can take guns into the US but not unpasteurized French cheese? My point exactly. Judge me all you want, but I like my carbonara, I accept only chocolate mousse with raw egg whites, I love my French cheeses, rare steak and burger.
This is an adjusted Spaghetti Carbonara recipe from the New York Times. It feeds 4 and I have always done half the recipe.
I have read that people, and sometimes chefs even, cheat and use cream so that they are sure the eggs won’t curdle and/or the sauce will cream. Once I made it and saw how easy it was, I could not imagine adding any more calories with the cream and how could you possibly mess this up and have your eggs curdle?!?! So, lay off the cream, no matter what you’ve been doing or reading thus far!
The saddest thing is that I can’t have it with guanciale, pork’s cheek. Since, well, we’re not in Italy and I am not rich, so I am not out there looking for it or asking to buy it. Normal bacon, or lardons would do.
This comes together in 15 minutes. Waiting for the pasta to boil is the longest wait you will have. It is a basic recipe, so you can experiment and add peas if you like, or herbs, or wilted greens. This is your meal and you’re alone in the kitchen: it’s up to you 🙂
160 gr dry pasta
1 tsp olive oil
a handful and a half of chopped lardons
25-30 gr grated parmesan
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
salt and pepper
1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente.
2. Pour warm, almost hot water in a large bowl and reserve. (this is where you will assemble the pasta: it will help cream the sauce and not curdle the eggs)
3. Warm the teaspoon of olive oil and fry the lardons until just crisp. When done, you can leave them in the frying pan, just remove from heat.
4. Whisk together the eggs, pepper and Parmesan in a bowl and reserve.
5. When the pasta is cooked, drain all but 1/2 cup of it. (use that water in case you need it for the creaming of the sauce in the end. I never do)
6. Toss the pasta with the lardons in the frying pan (off the heat) I like to start browning the lardons when frying, so when tossing the pasta here, I get to scrape off any bits at the bottom (ergo the darker coloured carbonara in my case)
7. Empty the water from the bowl you kept warm and wipe it dry.
8. Toss the pasta and lardons in this bowl. Pour over the egg and Parmesan mix and stir.
9. Stir, stir because it needs to be warm and slightly fast so that you cream the eggs 🙂
Ta da! Buon appetito