A dish that I make quite often in our house is Spaghetti alla Carbonara (aka breakfast spaghetti). It doesn’t require much cooking and uses very simple ingredients. This is all I need to make lunch for two. By the way, when you get to the rind of your parmiggiano cheese, don’t chuck it! I’ll show you how to use it in soups like Pasta Fagioli or Pasta Ceci.
2 thick slices of bacon (pancetta or guanciale)
1 handful of freshly grated parmiggiano reggiano
2 pinches of salt
a few coarse grinds of black pepper
Crack 2 eggs into a large bowl and mix. Add in parmiggiano cheese, 1 pinch of salt, a few grinds of black pepper and mix. Ta da! Your sauce is done! How easy is that? All you need now to do is cook the pasta and the bacon – they take about the same time, you’ll be ready to eat before you know it.
In a pot of boiling water, add a good pinch of salt and your spaghetti. Here is a trick that I learned from watching one of Jamie Oliver’s programs. If you twist your pasta and drop it in, it sprays out like a fan and fits better into the pot. Bet you didn’t know that. 😉 On another burner heat a large pan and add olive oil.
Slice your bacon into lardons. Add it to the pan and cook until its nice and crispy. The spaghetti takes about 11 minutes to reach al dente, so I cook my bacon for about 9 minutes and then turn off the heat.
When the pasta is al dente, you can drain it through a colander or just transfer it directly to the pan with tongs. (I prefer to transfer it directly to the pan to retain as much heat as possible.) Mix together well.
While still very hot, combine the spaghetti and bacon with the egg mixture. Toss several times, coating the spaghetti well in the egg mixture. The steam/heat from the pasta will cook the eggs – and make it oh so silky smooth. I placed the wooden spoons I used to cook the bacon and the spaghetti in an ‘X’ over the eggs to prevent them scrambling. Sometimes if it’s too hot you will get scrambled eggs and bacon pasta instead of the luxurious carbonara sauce you’re aiming for.
This dish might look fancy pants, but do you agree with me that this dish is easy to make? Some people are afraid to try making this at home because they think the sauce is raw, but if you make it right the eggs cook by the heat of the spaghetti and bacon, and if you still aren’t convinced – instead of pouring the pasta into the eggs, you can pour the eggs into the pan.
I’ve gone through a dozen eggs already! Maybe I’ll head over to the Farmers Market in the Village of Cross Keys tomorrow. By the way, did you know buying local farm fresh eggs cost the same as buying ‘organic’ eggs in the supermarket? So I’ve decided to support our local farmers and not buy supermarket eggs anymore!