How I love thee. Let me count the ways:
You're easy, satisfying and flexible. (Ooops, this is a family blog!)
Stupid jokes aside, is pasta carbonara part of your easy-cooking-night repertoire? For some of you, I'm sure it is. But for others... please listen up. This is a fabulous dish to master. It's perfect for almost any setting: from cooking for yourself to impressing others*. It's an alchemistic melange of egg, cheese, bacon and whatever else you want.
Lest that would make you think pasta carbonara is all sin and no vitamins... I'll have you know that we often make ours kinda healthy. Shhhh, don't tell. Whole wheat pasta, spinach, kale and other veggies routinely make an appearance in our Thursday Night Fave.
Chez ST&F style**
Makes 2 main-dish servings (doubles easily)
5 oz. whole wheat spaghetti
3 rashers of bacon, stacked and cubed
1/2 c. peas (organic frozen for us, this time of year)
1 large egg
1/4 c. cream
Lots of freshly ground pepper
Teensy bit of sea salt
1 c. parmigiano-reggiano cheese, finely grated
small handful of Italian parsley, chopped
- Fry bacon in a non-stick skillet. When crispy and delicious, push bacon pieces to one side and drain most of the fat out (do with it what you will), leaving a scant amount in the pan. Leave heat on very low. You want the pan to still be warm, not hot.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta in salted boiling water according to package directions.
- When 4 minutes remain in pasta cooking time, add frozen peas. When cooking time is complete, drain pasta and peas, leaving plenty of pasta cooking water clinging to the noodles.
- Turn drained pasta and peas directly into the bacon skillet. Toss in the bacon-y goodness to coat.
- Whisk egg, cream, pepper and salt together in a small bowl. Pour into skillet and quickly stir to coat noodles. Add 2/3 of the cheese, half the parsley and continue stirring. Adjust the heat as needed: you want the egg mixture to thicken gently, not scramble. If you keep the heat sufficiently low to begin with, you may need to raise it slightly to ensure the egg mixture clings to the noodles. Don't overcook.
- When the egg mixture clings almost completely to the pasta, plate it. Divide pasta between two plates and garnish with remaining cheese, parsley and your best extra virgin olive oil. Dig in.
* As far as impressing others, I'll confess: my Mister always makes this dish. My job is to chop the parsley, throw in the cheese and look on admiringly.
** Some people say cream doesn't belong in carbonara, but this silky version works great for us.