A few weeks ago I made classic spaghetti carbonara for the first time. It’s actually quite easy to make and now that I know how simple it is, I plan on making it often.
I mentioned previously that Mr. K and I have a history with spaghetti carbonara.
During one winter vacation of his college years, Mr. K spent the break in Rome, visiting family. While there, his aunt cooked him many delicious pasta dishes including spaghetti carbonara. She taught Mr. K to make it so that he could make it for me. Well, when he returned from his trip, he was so excited and wanted to show off what he learned.
So for our one year anniversary, he “surprised” me by making me dinner. Until then, he’d never cooked for me before, so it was a big deal. His menu consisted of spaghetti carbonara and chocolate cookies for dessert.
For those of you familiar with spaghetti carbonara, you know that an integral step in the making of it is breaking a raw egg and tossing the hot noodles until the egg is fully cooked. Well, Mr. K is notoriously slow in the kitchen. So by the time he had drained the pasta and added his egg, his noodles were already cold. He didn’t know enough about cooking to try putting it back on the stove, so he just tossed the raw egg in the cold noodles, which just resulted in noodles covered in slimy egg whites and yolk…
I came over to his place just in time to see the finished disaster of a dish. We both agreed it wasn’t safe to eat. Next up, he presented me with dessert. He had used a brownie mix and shaped them into cookies. I’m not sure where he went wrong, but the cookie brownies tasted sour instead of sweet. So we scrapped those too.
I don’t quite remember what we ended up eating that night but it was definitely memorable. It’s a memory that makes us laugh to this day.
Anyhow, classic spaghetti carbonara has very few ingredients. I’ve seen more creamier versions out there and we had some different variations in Italy as well. When eating with Mr. K’s family in Rome, we were told that most Italians prefer using very little sauce in their pasta and the ones that are heavy on the sauce tend to be the versions that are more for foreigners.
I had picked up some fresh made pasta from Arricia Market and I wanted the noodles to really shine. So I made the most minimalist version. This was ready to eat in a matter of minutes, so if you are shy about trying it, definitely give it a go. If you like saucier pastas, you can add a little bit of heavy cream into the sauce.
1/2 lb pasta
4 slices of bacon
2 tbsp of oil from bacon
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
pinch of black pepper
2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
1. Cook bacon in pan until crispy. Reserve 2 tbsp oil and drain out the rest. Remove bacon and slice into small pieces. Add garlic to pan with bacon oil and cook until soft.
2. Meanwhile, in a separate pot, bring water to boil and cook pasta until al dente. Remove pasta and place in the bacon oil pan (which should still be hot) and add the olive oil on top of noodles. Working quickly, crack in eggs and start tossing noodles with tongs until egg is barely cooked and coated. Add in bacon and a little more than half of the parmesan cheese until mixed and coated. Sprinkle pepper, remaining Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley and serve.