This Pasta Carbonara is probably one of my FAVORITE comfort foods IN THE WORLD! It is so easy and quick to make, I cannot believe it took me so many years to discover it!! There are many varieties of this dish out there, but this one (to me) is the best. This is a great dinner to quickly whip up on any busy family weeknight, or a great romantic dinner you and your loved one can enjoy making and tasting together. Many of my friends think we keep a fancy and expensive pantry to keep up with some of these dishes we put out there. I do admit, we sometimes have to travel a little farther, or order online, to get some of the ingredients we need for our recipes. However, THIS recipe’s ingredients can be found just about anywhere, in any small town (like ours!). In fact, I made this last night even though we were short a few of our usual ingredients (here I used pics from last night’s results, along with another time when I did have all the ingredients). So last night we were able to substitute the Parmesan cheese with Cojita cheese (a crumbly, mexican version of parmesan that is just as salty and yummy!), then just left off the parsley (since we didn’t have any inside, or outside, the house right now). This dish usually calls for pancetta, but we cannot get that around here, or likely any smalltown, USA, lol. So, we just use good old fashion BACON. How can anyone not like BACON?!?! I mean, c’mon….it’s PASTA and BACON! Together! What more shall I say?? Other than it never disappoints the palate nor the tummy! Enjoy!
Pasta CarbonaraPrint Recipe
- 1 Lb. dried spaghetti (we use whole wheat pasta to make ourselves feel better about it, it's all about balance, right?)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 Ounces bacon, sliced into strips or cubed
- 4 Garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicy like us!)
- 2 Large eggs, whisked
- 1 Cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano (or just Parmesan freshly grated, or pre-grated, if that's all you can find)
- Freshly ground pepper
- Handful of fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, chopped
Timing is important with this dish, so cook the sauce while the pasta boils. The pasta must be hot so the raw eggs will cook when mixed in at the end.
Add the dry pasta to pot of boiling water that has been salted generously (I do 1-2 palm fulls of kosher salt) and cook according to package directions.
Heat large pan over medium heat, add olive oil and bacon. Cook until bacon is crispy and the fat is rendered.
Meanwhile, whisk the eggs and cheese together in a bowl; set aside for later.
When the bacon is done, add the garlic and red pepper flakes, then stir continuously 2-3 minutes (keep it moving so you don't burn the garlic!)
Using tongs, transfer the cooked pasta directly from the pot into the large pan and toss the pasta well with tongs to coat the strands with the bacon fat. (you can also drain the pasta, but be sure it stays hot and reserve 1-2 cups of the pasta water to use later)
Take the pan off the heat (so as not to make scrambled eggs!) then add the egg/cheese mixture, quickly tossing it all together until the sauce has coated the pasta.
Thin the sauce by adding pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time, until desired consistency (I usually end up adding 1 - 1 1/2 cups, but I like it creamy!)
Season with freshly ground pepper and salt to taste.
Sprinkle the top with parsley and more grated cheese, if desired.