Today’s recipe is actually one I made a while ago, but I hadn’t posted it yet because … well, quite honestly … I screwed it up.
The flavors were great, but the dish didn’t come together like I wanted.
However, I’ve been doing some research, and I think I know where I messed up.
First of all, what is a “carbonara?”
According to Wise Geek: “Carbonara is an Italian sauce for pasta which appears to have emerged at some point after the Second World War. There are two distinct versions of carbonara, one made in Italy and one made in the United States. Both integrate similar ingredients, although the American version is much richer than the Italian version. The core ingredients for carbonara are pancetta, a mixture of cheeses, eggs, and freshly cracked black pepper. Americans add cream to their carbonara, and sometimes use other cured meats, such as bacon.”
The trick is in creating a rich, creamy sauce with the eggs … versus scrambling the eggs. Guess which one Kristen accidently did?
So now I’m going to share an updated version of the recipe, which includes strategies to make your carbonara more successful than mine!
Serves about 6 people
- 1 box (13.25 oz) whole-wheat spaghetti
- 2 + tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 8 slices bacon, sliced
- 1 onion, chopped
- ½ tsp minced garlic
- 4 eggs (AT ROOM TEMPERATURE … one thing I didn’t do.)
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- salt and pepper to taste (don’t add too much salt because the bacon is salty)
- dried or fresh parsley (optional)
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta according to the box’s instructions, so that it’s “al dente.” Drain the pasta (BUT RESERVE A CUP OF PASTA WATER), and then toss the pasta with 1 tbps olive oil. Set to the side.
- While the pasta is cooking, cook the chopped bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until slightly crisp. Remove the bacon and let it drain on paper towels.
- Keep what looks to be about 2 tbsp of bacon fat in the skillet and drain the rest. Add another tablespoon olive oil into the skillet, then add the chopped onion. Cook the onion over medium heat for a few minutes, until it looks translucent. Then add the minced garlic and cook for another minute. Now turn the heat to the lowest setting possible.
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Add a little of the hot pasta water (maybe a couple tablespoons) and stir, to temper the eggs. Add the Parmesan cheese to the eggs and mix together.
- Return cooked bacon to the skillet, followed by the pasta. Toss to coat.
- Then add the beaten eggs and cheese, stirring quickly with tongs, so that the egg mixture coats the pasta without the eggs scrambling! If the mixture is sticking together, add a little of the pasta water to loosen it.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve with parsley sprinkled on top.
One other note: This recipe makes a lot of pasta. It was a bit challenging to mix so much pasta so quickly. If you’re able to just make the dish for two people, you might want to cut the recipe in half. It might make things a little easier.
So mine turned out like this:
See those little specks of yellow? Those would be the scrambled eggs. It still tasted good, but it was like eating an Italian version of Chinese fried-rice.
But hopefully yours will look more like this:
So there you go. My attempt at spaghetti carbonara. Here’s hoping that your attempt produces better results than mine.
Question for ya …
Ever made a carbonara? Any tips to add?
Any dishes that you’ve messed up lately?
(Come on … make me feel better!)
What are you up to this weekend?
Brandon and I have more house-hunting to do. Wish us luck!