Carbonara



Her: I've been tweaking this method since I starting making carbonara, and I think I've got it just about perfect. (Pats own back) Carbonara is simple in its ingredients, but it's one of the most challenging dishes I've made - next to any rice dish. (Shakes fist at rice)

CARBONARA | (serves 4)
  • 4 eggs at room temperature, beaten and seasoned with salt.
  • 1 pound thick cut bacon, sliced into 1/2" pieces
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic 
  • Freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 pound linguini, cooked al dente (do not drain!)
  • Reserved hot pasta water 
  • Salt
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Chopped fresh parsley leaves
It's important to time and stage these steps perfectly so you can pull it all together at the crucial point without scrambling. No pressure, though! (Sigh...)

Start your pasta water on med-high and get it just to about boiling.

Separately and simultaneously, heat 1 TB of olive oil in a large, deep sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon.  Try to time it so that the pasta and bacon are done at about the same time. 

Add the pasta to the water and cook the pasta to package directions. Keep the pasta in the hot water being careful not to overcook) and do not drain. Now back to the bacon...

Fry the bacon until crispy. Set aside on a paper towel to drain. Remove and reserve the bacon fat to use during assembly.

Temper your eggs when the pasta is almost done.
With a ladle, take some starchy pasta water and slowly add it to the eggs while beating. This will bring up the temperature of the eggs, and will really help to avoid scrambling.

Time to assemble.
Turn the pan down to medium low. (to avoid scrambling)
Add 1 turn of olive oil + 1 TB bacon fat to the empty sauté pan.
Add the garlic.
Season with black pepper. Saute for 30 seconds.
Add the bacon back into the pan.
Add a tiny bit of pasta water to deglaze the pan (if needed).
Fish the hot pasta out with a pasta scoop and add it to the pan.
Saute for 1 minute, incorporating the bacon and oils. If it seems dry, add a touch more bacon fat to make it shimmer.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the tempered eggs slowly, incorporating quickly until the eggs thicken, but do not scramble.
Add the Parmesan cheese and re-season with salt and pepper. Mound into a big serving bowl and garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.



Tip: Keep the pasta water hot in case you have to refresh the pasta dish a bit. It starts to congeal after it sits a couple minutes, but a little hot pasta water always brings it right back to glistening perfection.

Cautionary Note: This is one of those meals that you can't. stop. eating. It may leave you with a very conflicting "sorry, not sorry" feeling inside. We usually eat it all between the two of us. We used to make a salad just so we wouldn't eat the whole thing in one sitting. We still didn't eat the salad. We've just resolved not to make the salad and accept the fact there will be no leftovers. Ever. 

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