Chef John’s Spaghetti alla Carbonara
There is ONE dish, Spaghetti alla Carbonara, that I turn to for comfort when I’m feeling down, or just want to eat something comforting and yummy. This recipe is so simple ANYONE can make it. Give it a try!
1 pound dry spaghetti
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces pancetta or tick bacon, cubed or sliced into small strips
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 large eggs
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
freshly ground black pepper
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- Prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking to ensure that the spaghetti will be hot and ready when the sauce is finished; it is very important that the pasta is hot when adding the egg mixture, so that the heat of the pasta cooks the raw eggs in the sauce.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender yet firm (as they say in Italian “al dente.”) Drain the pasta well, reserving 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water to use in the sauce if you wish.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium flame. Add the pancetta and sauté for about 3 minutes, until the bacon is crisp and the fat is rendered.
- Toss the garlic into the fat and sauté for less than 1 minute to soften.
- Add the hot, drained spaghetti to the pan and toss for 2 minutes to coat the strands in the bacon fat.
- Beat the eggs and Parmesan together in a mixing bowl, stirring well to prevent lumps. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the egg/cheese mixture into the pasta, whisking quickly until the eggs thicken, but do not scramble (this is done off the heat to ensure this does not happen.)
- Thin out the sauce with a bit of the reserved pasta water, until it reaches desired consistency.
- Season the carbonara with several turns of freshly ground black pepper and taste for salt. Mound the spaghetti carbonara into warm serving bowls and garnish with chopped parsley.
- Pass more cheese around!
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