Spaghetti Carbonara and a story

photo of a bowl of Spaghetti Carbonara

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.
overhead photo of Spaghetti Carbonara
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…

photo of a forkful of Spaghetti Carbonara

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.
Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 2

Carbonara is so easy to make you'll want to make it every week!

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 lb pasta
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp oil from bacon
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch black pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley

Directions:

  1. Cook bacon in pan until crispy. Reserve 2 tbsp of 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.

Nutrition Facts
Spaghetti Carbonara
Amount Per Serving (0.5 of recipe)
Calories 840 Calories from Fat 333
% Daily Value*
Fat 37g57%
Saturated Fat 12g75%
Cholesterol 214mg71%
Sodium 745mg32%
Potassium 453mg13%
Carbohydrates 87g29%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 35g70%
Vitamin A 775IU16%
Vitamin C 5.5mg7%
Calcium 331mg33%
Iron 2.9mg16%
Net Carbs 84g168%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have. All images and content are © Kirbie's Cravings.

15 comments on “Spaghetti Carbonara and a story”

  1. Awwww, what a cute story! At least the dinner wasn’t a deal-breaker 🙂 I haven’t had spaghetti carbonera in ages.

  2. What a great story, Kirbie — “A” for effort for Mr. K, how sweet of him! I seriously think that spaghetti carbonara is the best pasta dish, ever. Thanks for posting the recipe! I can’t wait to try it!

    • Haha. =) I love spaghetti carbonara. It’s so simple yet so good. I’m going to try playing around with some other versions but I really liked this one.

  3. I love this story! For Mr.K to go through all that trouble….awwww, it was true love! : )

    I have yet to try making this dish, but I will soon!

    • During his trip he would call me a few times a week. You know how it is when you’re first in love, haha! I’m glad he knew back then that it was something special! During out visit to Rome for our honeymoon, we spent time with the same family. It was my first time meeting them, so it was like our relationship had come full circle. They remembered me so well from Mr. K calling me all the time and talking about me during the trip.

  4. How cute! I can imagine Mr. K carefully taking the noodles off the stove and draining them, carefully breaking the egg, and then carefully pouring the egg into the noodles… 😛 I actually had spaghetti carbonara for the 1st time this week (at Bella Vista cafe), and I really loved it. Can’t wait to try to make it at home – I’m gonna try using pancetta instead of bacon to recreate the version I had 🙂

    • Oh, yes, pancetta is best. I just didn’t have any on hand and it was a really last minute decision to make it. I hope you like it. Hehe, yeah that pretty much is how I imagine he was doing it too.

  5. Ooooh! I have pancetta at home (from Trader Joes). Now I really need to try making spaghetti carbonara.

  6. We actually don’t use a whole egg – only the yolk, plus a tablespoon of the white. Also, re-heating the pasta and egg in the pan is frowned upon by purists because the egg cooks to much – if your pasta is on the cold side, instead of poring the yolk on it directly (which would be the ideal thing to do), you put it in a metal bowl (like the ones you buy at Ikea) with a tbsp grated cheese and heat it up on the boiling water’s steam, beating it with a fork in the meanwhile, until it gets creamy. Also, adding a little of the starchy water you boiled the actual pasta into helps a lot… :p

  7. Haha a similar thing happened to me when I went to Tofu House with a friend, we got the hot tofu soup and I was explaining to her that I was pretty sure the eggs at the table are supposed to be cracked in the soup. As we debated whether this was right or not when we finally went for it the soup was already not really super hot and we ended up with just swirls of uncooked egg in our soup :/

    • Lol, just the other day we were at CDD Tofu & Grill. Mr. K cracked his egg in and was telling me to take a picture of it. And then he just left it there! He didn’t dunk it under or spoon some broth on top to let it cook. I didn’t realize it because I was taking photo of some other foods and then he was commenting that his egg wasn’t cooked.

  8. We always got to pick what we wanted for dinner for our birthdays growing up, and I always asked for bacon egg spaghetti.  Didn’t know there was a real dish called spaghetti carbonara until I was 23.  I was at a fancy Italian restaurant with a new boyfriend.  Looking through the menu, reading the descriptions, I say “oh my gosh, bacon egg spaghetti!  That’s what I’m having”.  The waiter looked at me kind of funny, and Francis (the new boyfriend) shook his head and said “she’ll have the spaghetti carbonara”.  It was good, but not quite what I expected, with garlic and big chunks of some meat that wasn’t bacon (what I now know is pancetta LOL!).   Moms version -start spaghetti cooking, fry bacon, drain and crumble (keeping some of the bacon grease warm in the skillet), stir eggs and Kraft Parmesan cheese together in a mixing bowl, drain spaghetti and put back in the pot, add bacon grease and toss, then add egg/cheese mixture and continue tossing until coated/cooked.  Haven’t had this in way too many years.  I’m going to use your recipe when my brother comes out for Christmas.  I’ve learned that garlic is good.  ?
    kathy

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