BEFORE YOU READ MY RAMBLINGS BELOW:
THIS PASTA IS SUPER QUICK AND
SUPER EASY TO MAKE!!!!
When I ask people if they've ever had Spaghetti alla Carbonara, and the answer is "no," I attempt to describe it as "spaghetti with bacon and eggs" and I get the strangest looks!
Well, I can imagine what they're picturing, and maybe you're picturing it too, but It's not what you think, as you can see by the picture above.
Spaghetti alla Carbonara, or "Coal Miner's Spaghetti" is a traditional Roman meal, and one of the best known from the central Italian region. Most people tend to believe the pasta is named after the coal workers, because it was a staple for those who collected wood in the Appenine Mountains to make charcoal.
There is also the theory that the quantity of bacon and powdered eggs that American soldiers had readily available during World War II was the inspiration for this pasta.
I tend to go with the former idea, but the fact is that this pasta is fantastic and I'm just glad someone thought of it!
Traditionally, this dish is made with pancetta (you can make your own pancetta) which is Italian style bacon, however, I sometimes use American bacon and it's still delicious. I also use cream and milk, which is not authentic, but I just like a creamier, smoother and less "eggy" sauce.
Years ago, I was given a cookbook as a wedding gift, called The Top One Hundred Pasta Sauces by Diane Seed. As a British born cook living in Italy (lucky duck!) she compiled 100 pasta sauce recipes in this very simple book, and after reading her version of Spaghetti alla Carbonara, I just had to try it.
Well, I sort of tried it.
I just couldn't bring myself to use the quantity of the ingredients she listed!!
Being from Lazio (central Italy), my mother often made Spaghetti alla Carbonara, but she would only use about 2 eggs and a little milk for a pound of pasta.
In contrast to my mother's, here is Diane Seed's recipe for a pound of pasta:
- 5 eggs
- 4 oz heavy cream
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 oz butter
- 7 oz bacon
- 4 oz grated Parmigiano/Pecorino cheese
- salt and pepper
So I will give you my adaptation of her recipe, since this is how I've been making Spaghetti alla Carbonara for years. I do only make it once in a while because it still is rather high in fat and cholesterol, but it is so creamy, delicious, and flavorful, and is also a nice change from tomato sauce.
For those of you who want to cut calories/cholesterol, I will post a lower-fat, authentic version of the ingredients immediately following the first recipe, however, it will be more "eggy" and dry.
FYI, the first one will taste much better, but did I really need to tell you that?
SPAGHETTI ALLA CARBONARA
(Christina's Not-So-Low-Fat version)
about 6 or 7 rashers of lean bacon, chopped into pieces (I use kitchen scissors) or pancetta
2 ounces heavy (whipping) cream
milk (whole will taste best, but 2 % is still good)
1 ounce grated Parmigiano/Pecorino blend cheese (please do not use Kraft)
salt and black pepper
1 lb of spaghetti (I only buy DeCecco-it's so worth it, excellent pasta*)
* added 3/3/13: Now you don't have to take my word for it, America's Test Kitchen and a university lab tested pasta and guess what? De Cecco came in 1st place as being the best, according to the testing criteria!! It was also one of the best priced pasta...so there you go!
Start boiling salted water for pasta in a very large pot
(pasta needs a lot of water to cook properly.)
Next, fry the bacon pieces until cooked, but not crispy. It should look like this.
Pasta should be in the water and starting to cook by this point.
Beat the 3 eggs in a 2 cup pyrex jug.
Add the cream, and fill with milk up to 16 oz.
Stir well, and add some salt and quite a bit of black pepper.
Drain the pasta in a colander and put back in the same pot and back on the burner,
over the lowest heat possible (just warm.)
Now add all the egg mixture from the pyrex jug.
Start to stir and then add the bacon pieces.
Now add the grated cheese, and stir well to combine evenly.
The eggs will cook from the heat of the pasta,
so quickly turn off the burner as soon as the sauce starts to thicken.
That's it...it's ready!! So easy!!
I have to admit, these aren't photos of my own cooking.
The truth is, my son made dinner tonight
(yes, my 18 year old son made this)
and both he and my daughter were starving, so I was rushed
into dishing out the pasta for my photos!
I didn't get enough sauce mixed up from the bottom,
but you can still see how creamy and delcious it looks!
|Everyone I've ever made this for has fallen in love with it!|
Spaghetti Alla Carbonara
(lower fat authentic version)
6 oz pancetta (or about 6 or 7 rashers of lean bacon) chopped into pieces
(milk -not in authentic recipe, but a small amount makes it less dry)
1 ounce grated real Parmigiano/Pecorino blend cheese (please do not use Kraft)
salt and black pepper
1 lb of spaghetti (I prefer DeCecco)
Follow directions exactly as above, except if adding milk, only 1 or 2 ounces.
If you liked this recipe, try these pasta dishes too...
In case you missed the links above, here is:
Please leave me a note if you try any of my recipes and enjoy them! Grazie!