Carbonara is an Italian pasta dish originated from Lazio, more specifically Rome, where I went on a segway tour for the first time. I can vividly remember all the funny stares we drew from the crowd, driving over speed bumps like 7-year-olds on scooters, and the squeaky toy shaped like Nemo that would go off every 5 seconds, signalling others to move out of the way. It was wildly ridiculous, yet all sorts of awesome. Which is exactly the words I would use to describe this dish.
It is made primarily with eggs, cheese, black pepper and bacon (guanciale or pancetta for the Italians and Italian enthusiasts). Our version of carbonara features an addition of leek, which is a marvelous complement to bacon and still gives that mild onion-like flavour.
If you're ever tired of whipping the same old pasta dish, I'd suggest you give this a try. Even if it takes you several tries to get the desired texture of the egg adhering to the pasta without ending up in scrambled bits, trust me it's worth it. It's great to serve for your family, guests, or even as an usual brunch offering. I would have this for breakfast, lunch and dinner if I could, but due to infinite appetites in this household, it usually ends up entirely gone in one sitting.
SPAGHETTI ALLA CARBONARA
1/2 pound dry spaghetti
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
8 strips of bacon
1/2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 large eggs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
- In a large pot of boiling water seasoned with salt, cook pasta until al dente. Drain water, and toss the pasta with 1 tbsp of olive oil.
- Chop the leek into fine pieces.
- Slice the 8 strips of bacon into small bits. In a large skillet or cast-iron pan, cook the bacon bits until crispy. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels. Reserve 2 tbsp of bacon fat, then add the chopped leeks and chopped garlic into the pan and cook for about 2 minutes.
- Turn off heat and take the pan off of the stove. Add the pasta into the pan (leave a little bit of the pasta water inside the pan to help thicken the sauce).
- In a small bowl, beat 3 eggs and combine with the 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese.
- Pour mixture quickly into the pan and stir. A cooled pan will prevent the egg sauce from overcooking and leave a creamy sauce.
- Serve immediately with grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. Add freshly cracked black pepper to taste.