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Friday, April 27, 2012

Pasta Carbonara

This is another recipe (like Wednesday's risotto) that I can't believe I haven't posted to the blog yet.  This is easily my favorite pasta dish to make at home.  It's quick, it's easy, it's made out of common pantry ingredients AND it has bacon in it.  What's not to love?

Pasta Carbonara is always a fallback option for us since we always have bacon in the freezer.  It just takes twenty minutes or so under cold water and it's defrosted and ready to go.  It's definitely a comfort food option for us as well.  The creamy sauce made when the egg is gently warmed and combines with the cheese is so deliciously salty from the parmesan and the smokiness from the bacon, there's no horrible day that this pasta won't improve.  Do make sure you temper the egg and cheese sauce slowly and carefully.  I've done it too fast before and you end up with a sauce made of scrambled egg bits and that's not good.  I've been making it from this base recipe for over five years now, maybe even longer.  I changed up the recipe a bit, always adding in onions and have added in either spinach or mushrooms in the past as well.  I hope that you find that this recipe becomes a staple in your kitchen as well.

Pasta Carbonara
serves 4, adapted from Rachael Ray/The Food Network

1 pound pasta, I usually use spaghetti
1/3 pound bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus more, for topping
black pepper

  • Place a large pot of water on the stove to boil. When water is boiling, add salt and pasta and cook to al dente.  When pasta is done don't forget to save 1/2 cup pasta water.
  • While pasta cooks, heat large skillet over medium heat. Saute bacon until brown and crispy, 3 to 5 minutes. 
  • Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  
  • Add garlic and crushed pepper flake, saute 2 minutes. 
  • Add wine to the pan and reduce liquid by half, 2 minutes.
  • Beat together egg yolks, cheese, and while whisking vigorously, stir in a ladle of the boiling pasta water.
  • Drain pasta -- don't forget to reserve about 1/2 cup of pasta water (I usually forget this, hence my repeated reminders!).  Add pasta to pan with bacon mixture.  Toss pasta with bacon mixture, then add egg mixture and toss 1 minute, then remove from heat. Continue to toss, and adding reserved pasta water as necessary to loosen sauce, until sauce is coating the pasta. Add pepper to taste and salt, if necessary.  
  • Serve with extra cheese, for topping.

1 comment:

Laura said...

Yum! Love a good carbonara. Such a good, easy dinner. Always glad to meet fellow homebrewing bloggies out there!