Carbonara

If you were to ask me my favorite breakfast food, this would be it. Bacon, eggs, and pasta- you really can’t go wrong. This dish is simple in its ingredients, however the actual preparation can be rather tricky. I suggest reading the directions twice before diving in.

This dish primarily uses either pancetta or guanciale. Typically I use either from the deli, but I made this on a whim today and its a monsoon outside today, so… bacon Americano it is. Thats the nice thing about this dish, most everything in the ingredients list probably already lives in your kitchen.

Quick guide to choosing your meat:

Guanciale is the preferred meat for this dish. It is usually cured with heavier spices and also is the best for rendering fat. More expensive, but incredibly flavorful.

Pancetta contributes a smokey flavor that would be associated with a traditional breakfast bacon. Pancetta is much more affordable than guanciale and compliments the egg nicely.

American Bacon will still yield a nice smokey flavor, but you will have less rendered fat to work with. Easy option for a last minute recipe. Mine here is organic, uncured, Publix brand.

Also see here.

Ingredients:

  • 1lb dried spaghetti
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 garlic clove- whole
  • 1/4 cup pecorino romano (tangy)
  • 1/4 parmigiano-reggiano (sweet)
  • 1/2 c. of whatever meat you chose, diced
  • 2 tlb. olive oil
  • 1 c. frozen green peas
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper, one more for serving

Optional ingredients:

  • Fresh basil
  • Diced roma tomato

Directions:

  1. First things first, have you egg yolks out at room temperature for at least an hour before cooking.
  2. Bring a pot of water to boil with 1 teaspoon salt. I suggest only using as much water as needed to cook the pasta so you don’t dilute your starch. See pasta box for exact water measurement.
  3. In another pan, add your olive oil, garlic clove, and bacon. Place on medium heat.
  4. Add peas right at the end of cooking the bacon. They cook in less than one minute.
  5. Remove from heat. Do not drain.
  6. In another large bowl, mix together yolks, cheeses, and pepper. Set aside.
  7. Very important: As pasta finishes, do not drain! Use tongs to move pasta to the  bacon pan, shaking off the excess water.
  8. Set starchy pasta water aside. You will need this for the sauce.
  9. Roll pasta around in the skillet so it becomes covered in the rendered fat, peas,  and bacon bits.
  10. Pour pasta mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks, and treat the pasta like a mop, coating the pasta fully in the egg mixture.
  11. When coated, place the egg covered mixture back into the bacon pan on medium heat.
  12. Here is where it gets tricky. Too high heat, eggs will scramble. Too low heat, eggs will not thicken. Continually stir pasta and add small spoonfuls of starch water until egg yolks form a custard like consistency around your noodles.
  13. When desired thickness is reached, (no more than 2 minutes) remove from heat immediately.
  14. Serve with more pepper and parmigiano-reggiano on top. I also topped mine with fresh basil and diced Roma tomatoes.

 

 

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