Friday, January 28, 2011

Spaghetti Carbonnara

Spaghetti alla Carbonnara is pasta with bacon and eggs, but it is so, so much more. Though it is spaghetti, bacon and eggs, some Parmesan cheese and a bit of black pepper -AND THAT'S ALL, the total effect is infinitely beyond the sum of these ingredients. Granted, this is not the sort of thing I want to eat more than once (or twice) a year, but now is the season when I like to make this pasta dish. The daylight hours are increasing and our chickens are beginning to lay again, and this seems to me a fitting way to celebrate farm eggs. We still have bacon from last fall in the freezer, and our almost-spring damp and cool weather means filling and comforting foods like this are welcomed at the table. Our almost-spring weather also means I'm beginning to work outside more, and this dish takes no more time to make than the time needed to cook the pasta. To make this, I put on a large pot of salted water to boil. Meanwhile, for each person (there was three of us last night), I dice 2 slices of bacon and set out a large pasta serving bowl. In a small bowl, I beat 1 egg, with a bit of black pepper and 2 T. Parmesan cheese. When the water comes to a boil, I add 1/4 lb. pasta per person. I cook the cut bacon separately in a caste-iron skillet, and try to time it so the bacon is done just as the pasta is, and not too crispy. I either leave the bacon in the skillet, or remove it to large bowl with 1-2 T. of the bacon fat (or drain and use olive oil). When the pasta is done al dente, I drain it and immediately put it into the large pasta serving bowl with the bacon and oil, pour in the beaten egg-cheese mix, tossing it well so the hot pasta and bacon just barely cook the eggs, melt the cheese, and coat the pasta. I let it set just a couple minutes, and then serve it with French bread.

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