Classic Spaghetti Carbonara

by Kelly on April 28, 2011

When I’m feeling especially nice, or especially burdened with working mom’s guilt, dinner planning tends to be child-focused. My kids are great eaters, but like most kids, they’d rather have white bread than wheat, white rice instead of brown, and regular pasta instead of whole grain. Since I knew I was going to put something white (i.e. unhealthy) on their plates, why not just do it up right with bacon, cheese and a few eggs,  à la carbonara?

I’ve been wanting to try pasta carbonara for years but never thought to search out a recipe. I ended up using a simple, straightforward version from a culinary school’s online recipe collection. Admittedly, I’ve never eaten pasta carbonara so I can’t tell you if their version is especially good. I can tell you that my kids gobbled it up, asking for more before their first helpings were even finished. My husband and I also enjoyed it, though we both agreed that extra freshly chopped parsley and cracked black pepper enhanced the dish.

Carbonara ingredients

Classic Spaghetti Carbonara
adapted from Baltimore International College’s School of Culinary Arts

Serves 4

To make this a 30-minute meal, put on your pasta water to boil immediately. While the water comes to a boil, you can chop your ingredients. Start the bacon frying, then throw your pasta in its water. The sauce comes together in just about the same time it takes the spaghetti to cook.

1/2 lb (225 g) bacon, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
1 lb (450 g) fresh spaghetti, cooked al dente (note: I used dry pasta)
4 large eggs, beaten
1 cup (100 g) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (or more, to taste)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large sauté pan over a medium heat, cook the bacon until crispy, about 6 minutes. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels. Pour off all the oil except for 3 tablespoons. Add the garlic, season with black pepper and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the crispy bacon and the cooked pasta. Sauté for 1 minute.

Season the eggs with salt. Remove the pan from the heat and add the eggs, whisking quickly until the eggs thicken, but do not scramble. Add the cheese and re-season with salt and pepper. Mound into serving bowls and garnish with parsley.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Hester Casey - Alchemy April 26, 2011 at 4:52 pm

This sounds like the perfect Carbonara. I’ve had it in restaurants a few times here but what gets served up is usually not the real deal but a cream sauce with mushrooms and bacon – perfectly tasty but not Carbonara. Going to have to try your version which sounds pretty authentic to me – no wonder your kids asked for seconds.

Bill April 26, 2011 at 7:12 pm

So great to see a carbonara recipe without cream. Totally unnecessary as the egg and pasta water form the perfect sauce. I brought some guanciale back from Rome that the Romans would insist is essential in a carbonara. I have to say, it’s amazing stuff.

City Share April 26, 2011 at 9:29 pm

This is my first time visiting your site and I love your banner. It’s so much fun to see your cookbooks. It would be kind of fun to see the highlights of all my favorite food bloggers.

The carbonara sounds delicious. I think I need to make some because it’s come up several times in conversations recently and now I’m seeing it here. Thanks for the inspiration.

Kelly April 26, 2011 at 11:07 pm

Yum, guanciale is a great idea. Pancetta might also be a nice variation (and much easier to find!)

Kelly April 26, 2011 at 11:10 pm

Now that you mention cream, that might be a nice touch too.

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