Since I have mentioned Spaghetti Carbonara not once but twice in the last week or so – I figured I should share a recipe for one of my favorite dishes with you today. Mr. D looked over my shoulder when I was researching the topic and he said “Wife, do you really obsess this much over a good carbonara?” I answered “Why yes honey, I most certainly do obsess. Indeed, I do.”I first fell in love with the dish the Summer of 2007 when we were living in London. You see, it’s prepared in a different manner across the pond. Here in the States people will often add cream to their carbonara recipe –and I was never a big fan of how heavy it was. Over in the UK *closer distance to Italy and where many Italians have settled* they prepare the dish simply. Pasta, pancetta, pepper, egg, and parmigiano cheese. Perfection, isn’t it?Do you know where the name Carbonara comes from? I found the wikipedia definition quite interesting. The name is derived from the Italian word for charcoal. Some believe that the dish was first made as a hearty meal for Italian charcoal workers. Spaghetti alla Carbonara: pasta of the charcoal workers! Another rumor about the origin of the name: it’s about the black pepper added to the dish. The black flakes among the whiteish sauce look like charcoal soot! Whatever the case– I adore the combination of egg, cheese and bacon so spaghetti carbonara lands near the top of my favorite dish list.Spaghetti Carbonara Recipe: this Spaghetti Carbonara recipe comes from Ruth Reichl’s first book Mmmmm: A Feastiary Recipes
Ingredients: As always, I suggest you use the highest quality ingredients. Select fresh, organic, and free range, hormone-free products whenever possible. The egg yolks will be higher and the flavor will be more intense and pure. When you’re cooking with so few elements, the quality of the ingredients are that much more important! I promise, you’ll see and taste the difference.
1 pound spaghetti
1/4 to 1/2 pound thickly sliced good quality bacon or pancetta
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 large eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano cheese, plus extra for the table
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. When the water boils, throw the spaghetti in. Dried spaghetti takes 9 to 10 minutes to cook. The sauce is easy enough to prepare in that amount of time.
Cut the bacon crosswise into pieces about 1/2 inch wide. Place in a skillet and cook for about 2 minutes. The fat will begin to render. At that point, add the two whole cloves of garlic and cook another 5 minutes or so, until the edges of the bacon just begin to get crisp. Do not overcook the bacon. If it becomes too crisp it won’t meld with the pasta. Break the eggs into the bowl you will serve the pasta in. Beat them with a fork. Grind pepper into the bowl with the raw eggs.
When it is cooked, drain the pasta and immediately throw it into the beaten eggs. Mix thoroughly. The heat of the spaghetti will cook the eggs and turn them into a sauce. Remove the garlic from the bacon pan. Toss the bacon with most of its fat into the pasta, toss again, add cheese and serve.