Thursday, February 16, 2012

Spaghetti Carbonara for Dummies

A delicious semi-classic and super-simple spaghetti carbonara recipe.

8 oz PANCETTA or thick cut BACON
1/2 cup PECORINO ROMANO (grated)
(or just romano, what's the big deal?)
(even a little parmesan won’t hurt)
PEPPER (as much as you can handle)
SALT (very little)
PARSLEY (optional)


Combine 3 egg yolks and 1 whole egg into a bowl and mix well. Stir in ½ to ¾ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese—a Romano cheese is “pecorino” if it is made from sheep milk—but if you use Romano made from the milk of a cow or a goat, it won’t be the end of the world (and parmesan wouldn’t kill you either—although the pecorino is nice). Set this mixture aside.

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Add a pinch of salt to the water, but sparingly—there will be plenty of salt in the other ingredients. While pasta cooks, prepare the meat.

Cut 8oz of pancetta or thick-cut bacon into small squares. Pancetta is Italian bacon that is not smoked—most other bacon you find at the market will be smoked; again, it’s not the end of the world choosing one over the other, the main difference will be in the “smokiness” of the dish. In a large skillet, prepare the bacon. Add a generous helping of fresh cracked pepper (generous is whatever amount you like). Make sure the bacon is cooked through, but do not cook it to a crisp! Remove skillet from the heat and pour off the excess bacon grease. When spaghetti is ready, remove directly from the water (do not rinse!) and mix the pasta with the bacon in the skillet. Add the cheese/egg mixture to the hot pasta and continue mixing thoroughly. Initially it will not look like a lot of sauce, but as you stir the mixture into the pasta, it will become quite creamy (and delicious). Add a splash of pasta water if needed. Throw in a little chopped parsley for color and serve immediately.

Bon appétit!

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