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Spaghetti Carbonara

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Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara

Photo © Molly Watson
Spaghetti Carbonara is often made with cream in the U.S., but the authentic Italian version gets its saucy texture just from eggs and Parmesan (and a boost of flavor from a bit of pancetta or bacon thrown in for good measure, as well as plenty of freshly ground black pepper). Best of all, you can make the sauce in the time it takes to boil the pasta!

Note: While the heat from the pasta theoretically cooks the eggs, they aren't necessarily brought up to a bacteria-killing temperature. For this reason I like to use high-quality pastured eggs in this recipe. You can learn more about eggs here.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 3 oz. Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 lb. pancetta or bacon
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 lb. spaghetti or spaghettini

Preparation:

  1. Put a large pot of water on to boil. Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a large bowl and beat them until the whites and yolks are well incorporated with each other. (You're going to toss the pasta in this bowl, so make sure it's big enough!)
  2. Finely shred or grate the cheese, add 1/2 of it to the eggs and set the rest aside. Finely chop the parsley and add it to the eggs. Add the pepper to the eggs as well and whisk the mixture to combine everything well. Set the bowl aside in a warm place (next to the stove is fine).
  3. Cut the pancetta or bacon into 1/4-inch-thick slices, peel and chop the garlic, and set both aside. Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta or bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until it starts to brown. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the wine to the pancetta or bacon and cook until the liquid is reduced by about half. Remove the pan from heat and set it aside, preferably on the stove where it can stay warm.
  5. When the water boils, add the salt and spaghetti. Boil the pasta until it's tender to the bite. Drain well and immediately pour the drained pasta into the bowl with the egg mixture. Toss everything to thoroughly coat the pasta with the egg mixture (the heat from the pasta will partly cook the egg and melt the cheese).
  6. Pour the pancetta mixture on top of the pasta and toss to combine thoroughly. Sprinkle the pasta with the remaining cheese and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

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