Pretty much the perfect weeknight meal, carbonara takes about 15 minutes to pull together and you'll be fully-satisfied. If you insist on a vegetable, a simple arugula salad with the best extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and salt and pepper is the way to go.
This recipe serves 2 - it's hard to make carbonara for more than 2 people at the same time. If you're feeding a larger group, make it in multiple batches.
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 strips of bacon, cut into 1/4 inch wide pieces.
- 1 cup, plus more for serving, grated Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino Romano (more traditional), or a mix
- 2 whole eggs plus one yolk
- salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces spaghetti or bucatini
In a large pot of boiling, well-salted water, cook the pasta to just short of al dente.
In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, grated cheese, 3 tablespoons of olive oil and black pepper to taste.
In a large skillet off the heat, add the remaining tablespoon of the olive oil and the bacon. Place over medium-high heat and cook until almost, but not quite crispy. Remove to a paper towel from the pan, leaving the fat behind.
Just before the pasta is done cooking, remove 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Whisk 1/3 cup into the egg and cheese mixture.
When the pasta is done, remove from the pot and put it straight into the skillet with the remaining fat and turn the heat to high. Stir the pasta to coat it in fat and season with about 1 teaspoon of salt, but this will depend on how salty your bacon is and how well-seasoned the pasta water is. Taste to be sure.
Turn off the heat and let the pasta cool for 2 - 3 minutes, stirring to let off some of the heat. With tongs in hand, quickly stir in the egg mixture, being careful not to let the eggs touch the bottom of the pan for too long...you don't want scrambled eggs! Once it's well-mixed, you may want to loosen it with some of the reserved pasta water.
Check for seasoning and serve immediately - carbonara waits for no one!