In the newspaper a couple of days ago, a challenge was issued: make Spaghetti alla Carbonara! I looked at the ingredients, which are quite simple and thought, what the heck – I’ll take that challenge.
Since I was going right by the Mexican grocery store, I stopped to pick up the ingredients I would need. (First change to the printed recipe: it should have been an Italian grocery store, right? I also didn’t use Pancetta, or Guanciale, or Pecorino. Will the modifications never stop?)
I’d gotten a beautiful bag of green beans from Gary and Dorie, our dear friends and thought that would add to a great supper.
Arriving home, the usual happened – we were out of spaghetti! However we had plenty of Oriecchette, which we love anyway.
Oriecchette alla Carbonara was delish – and so were the lemony, garlicky green beans.
1 big Tbsp kosher salt
1/2 package of turkey bacon or thick-cut regular bacon, cut into 1/2 inch slices.
Freshly ground black pepper, maybe 1/4 – 1/2 tsp?
2 cloves of garlic, crushed or 1 tsp garlic powder
1 pound good spaghetti, or whatever pasta you have on hand
4 large eggs, stirred well and kept in a bowl
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
Fresh, chopped Italian parsley (Ali brought in about 6 good stems.)
Fill a big pot of water for the pasta, add the salt and bring it to the boil. As soon as the water is boiling, add the pasta. You want to cook the pasta until it’s very al dente. Save out about a cup of the pasta water.
In the meantime, in your largest frying pan, begin cooking the bacon. Let it cook for 8-10 minutes until it’s really nicely crispy and browned. Drain off all but 2 Tbsp of the pan drippings. Add the crushed garlic and saute for a minute or two until it’s cooked. (If using garlic powder, just add with the black pepper.)
Grind some black pepper into the bacon, and add 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
As soon as the pasta is just barely al dente, drain out the water, and add the pasta to the frying pan. Gently stir the pasta to coat it, and add a little more pasta water if you need to. Let the pasta cook for 1 minute on medium heat. Remove from the heat altogether.
Add the eggs and blend quickly and gently to prevent the eggs from cooking too much. If it starts to get sticky at the bottom, add a little more pasta water. Stir for a minute or two.
Add the parmesan and parsley and keep gently folding the pasta. Add one more grind of black pepper over the top, check salt and serve.